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The Lover by Marguerite Duras
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The Lover (1984)

by Marguerite Duras

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,3751161,610 (3.69)1 / 117
  1. 00
    The North China Lover by Marguerite Duras (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: dieselbe Geschichte noch einmal erzählt
  2. 00
    Les Belles Images by Simone de Beauvoir (Cecilturtle)
    Cecilturtle: une éducation semblable bien que les choix soient différents
  3. 00
    The Vice Consul by Marguerite Duras (Cecrow)
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English (97)  French (7)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Set against the backdrop of French colonial Vietnam, The Lover reveals the intimacies and intricacies of a clandestine romance between a pubescent girl from a financially strapped French family and an older, wealthy Chinese man.

In 1929, a 15 year old nameless girl is traveling by ferry across the Mekong Delta, returning from a holiday at her family home in the town of Sa Đéc, to her boarding school in Saigon. She attracts the attention of a 27 year old son of a Chinese business magnate, a young man of wealth and heir to a fortune. He strikes up a conversation with the girl; she accepts a ride back to town in his chauffeured limousine.

Compelled by the circumstances of her upbringing, this girl, the daughter of a bankrupt, manic depressive widow, is newly awakened to the impending and all-too-real task of making her way alone in the world. Thus, she becomes his lover, until he bows to the disapproval of his father and breaks off the affair.

For her lover, there is no question of the depth and sincerity of his love, but it isn't until much later that the girl acknowledges to herself her true feelings.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
One of my favorite books; such an amazing love story. Beautiful. ( )
  HMGThomas | Feb 28, 2016 |

Best of 1984 Challenge.....(which I may or may not finish)

I'm not rating this, because I really don't care one way or the other about it.

Fifteen years old, crossing the river on a ferry, in a worn sleeveless silk dress, gold lame sandals on her feet, an flat man's fedora on her head.....she meets a Chinese man 12 years her senior in a black limousine. The go to a room in town and they become lovers.

Her life is crap, her mother head mistress, her father dead, her younger brother just there, & her older brother afraid of her, yet abusive.....

There is no apparent sense of time, just bits of the story crossing its own time worn path.

Even when there are tears, anger, loss there is no sadness, no feelings, no emotions...... It's all as if written in dream time. Not even the so called "erotic" has feelings in this book..... Lyrical yet empty. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
The story focuses on a 15 year old girl growing up in Indochina in the 1930's. The girl's father has returned to the family home in France where he will soon die of an unnamed disease leaving the girl and her two older brothers to live with their mother, the headmistress of a local girls school. Mother suffers from deep depressions and bouts of euphoria and does not provide an emotionally or finacially stable home for her three children. The older son is her obvious favorite and every concession is made to ensure he has a bright future even to the detriment of the other 2 children. The daughter catches the eye of a young (mid-20's) Chinese businessman and they begin an affair that will last for a year and a half despite the fact that the young man's wealthy family refuses to allow him to marry the young white woman. The girl's mother, however, looks the other way since her daughter's lover provides some money and food for the family. Once the affair ends the girl and her family return to France where she becomes the writer she always dreamed of being.

Although this book is tagged 'erotica' I did not find one single thing erotic about it at all. I actually find it distasteful that a mother would allow a 15 year old to become a mistress just so she could have an easier life for herself and her precious son. Apparently I am in the minority as most of the reviews on Amazon were 5 stars just raving about the depth of the beautifully written novel. I agree that the author writes with pretty words and lyrical phrases (unfortunately for me a lot of them were above my head) but on the whole I did not like this one.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
★★★★

This is a semi autobiographical account of how a young French girl in Indochina has an affair with an older rich Chinese man, it examines the motive for the affair was it for money, escape or for love.

Told it short, sparse, to the point language it never the less manages to capture the emotions of the narrator and to draw you into the story.
( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (40 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Marguerite Durasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bray, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kingston, Maxine HongIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prato Caruso, LeonellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
Pour Bruno Nuytten
First words
Un jour, j'étais âgée déjà, dans le hall d'un lieu public, un homme est venu vers moi.
One day, I was already old, in the entrance of a public place a man came up to me.
Quotations
I often think of the image only I can see now, and of which I've never spoken. It's always there, in the same silence, amazing. It's the only image of myself I like, the only one in which I recognize myself, in which I delight.
Very early in my life it was too late. It was already too late when I was eighteen. Between eighteen and twenty-five my face took off in a new direction. I grew old at eighteen
I acquired that drinker's face before I drank. Drink only confirmed it. The space for it existed in me.
I had the luck to have a mother desperate with a despair so unalloyed that sometimes even life's happiness, at its most poignant, couldn't quite make her forget it.
You always went home with the feeling of having experienced a sort of empty nightmare, of having spent a few hours as the guest of strangers with other guests who were strangers too, of having lived through a space of time without any consequences and without any cause, human or other.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the 1984 book L'Amant, not to be confused with the 1971 book L'Amour.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Set in the prewar Indochina of Dura’s childhood, The lover is the haunting tale of a relationship between two outcasts - an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover - during the waning days of the colonial period.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375700528, Paperback)

An international best-seller with more than one million copies in print and a winner of France's Prix Goncourt, The Lover has been acclaimed by critics all over the world since its first publication in 1984.

Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras's childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. In spare yet luminous prose, Duras evokes life on the margins of Saigon in the waning days of France's colonial empire, and its representation in the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts.

Long unavailable in hardcover, this edition of The Lover includes a new introduction by Maxine Hong Kingston that looks back at Duras's world from an intriguing new perspective--that of a visitor to Vietnam today.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:13 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

The story of an affair between a fifteen-year-old French girl and her Chinese lover, set in prewar Indochina.

» see all 2 descriptions

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