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Blue Eyes, Black Hair by Marguerite Duras
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Blue Eyes, Black Hair (1986)

by Marguerite Duras

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English (5)  French (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
As unassuming as it is surprising, this is a book about the quietly obsessive love of two individuals who've both become enamoured with the same nearly untouchable and idealized man. What sounds as if it would be torrid or silly or frustrating, though, at the very least, becomes utterly beautiful in the writing of Duras. The graceful passages of the novel, or novella, I suppose, are so simple and honest that the relationship of the man and woman at the heart of the novel is delivered in a manner that nearly comes across as innocent. Though, this is also tinged with a constant erotic pressure so that innocent feelings are tuned also toward undoubtedly adult sense and material.

If all of this sounds jumbled, it may be because the book itself is something of a beautiful puzzle, built for readers to slip through in a single reading. Duras' language and tone are perfectly set, and the interjections on artistry and acting, as if the entire novel is being read and performed on a private stage, add a level of alien maturity that is nearly indescribable when combined with the simply related relationship at the center of the work.

In the end, this is one of those short works that is both clear in its first communication, and yet demaning of a re-read. It is artful, smart, and perfectly tuned for a quiet read and meditation on relationships, love, and what binds one individual to the next for better or worse.

Absolutely recommended. ( )
2 vote whitewavedarling | Jan 8, 2013 |
My head swam. I think I know what was happening, and I believe I got the message. Seductive and unsettling. Sexuality and sorrow. Secretly appealing.

Thanks to Laura. If I had known. ( )
  scott.r | Jan 4, 2013 |
This wasn't as good as The Lover... and I think the other one I read was North China Lover? Not sure, since it seems like all her books cover the very same territory, this one included. Which I am getting kinda bored of. ( )
  JimmyChanga | Jul 13, 2010 |
Blue Eyes, Black Hair might not be recommended for a first-time reader of Duras. The book is not flowing or visual or erotic in the manner of The Lover. It seems more a continuation of Duras' literary themes rather than a novel that stands by itself. It might be of more interest to devotees of Duras' greater body of work than to the casual reader. In it, a man sees another man, briefly, through a window, and feels an attraction as strong as love. Weeping in a cafe, later the same night, he meets a young woman with black hair and blue eyes who reminds him very much of the man he saw and desired but never met. The two acknowledge to one another that they are both lonely, and the man asks the woman to go with him to his room by the sea. He wants to watch her sleep. The novel is basically a story of the transferal of desire and the lack of communion between two individuals. The book explores the idea of objectifying a love, of two people wanting things so different that their desires somehow become similar, and of feelings involved in close emotional relationships between people of different sexual orientations. It addresses the themes of loneliness, the exploration of desire and despair, of distance and fear, and of the pain in never really knowing - emotionally or physically - the desired other. ( )
2 vote IsolaBlue | Dec 11, 2009 |
Duras has this tough face. Her novels, when they're good, take on the functionality of her face. This one goes so fast and is hard on you. It is looking, in a way, right there. It is looking around at nothing, without anything to see for sheesh for years. ( )
  dawnpen | Oct 31, 2005 |
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