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The Lover by Marguerite Duras

The Lover (1984)

by Marguerite Duras

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2031041,736 (3.7)1 / 105
  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 Sea Wall by Marguerite Duras (StevenTX)
    StevenTX: The same autobiographical story elements but with a great contrast in theme and style
  4. 00
    The Vice Consul by Marguerite Duras (Cecrow)

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English (87)  French (6)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (103)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I was very interested in reading The Lover after having watched the film and glad to enjoy the same tone of sadness and desire. I did find it a bit hard to follow at times and with an odd flip flopping of point of view, which I assume is intentional. This book is supposedly autobiographical and I imagine that Duras writes from the past as if seeing a ghost or image of herself, and uses "the girl" or "I" interchangeably. If you want something short, unique, and sensual on a rainy summer day, this is it. ( )
  LauraT81 | Jun 5, 2014 |
The light fell from the sky in cataracts of pure transparency, in torrents of silence and immobility. The air was blue, you could hold it in your hand. Blue. The sky was the continual throbbing of the brilliance of the light. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Their sound was that of the dogs, the country dogs baying at mystery. They answered one another from village to village, until the time and space of the night were utterly consumed.It's books like these that reaffirm the passage of time for me. Not in any form of stunning realization, but more of an acknowledgement of changing sensibilities, that a mere year ago I would have been hard pressed to give this book more than three stars. Nowadays the 'liked it' still applies more than the 'really liked it', but as there is additional 'respected it', 'found value in it', and even some 'heightened worth of previous readings due to it' in the mix, the four stars are worth their weight in spirit if not in letter.

Despite my recent diet of the short and sweet in both sentence and page length, I'm still more of a fan of the larger range of depth and breadth. I've had a great deal of luck with [a:Jean Rhys|25022|Jean Rhys|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1240501946p2/25022.jpg] and others, but my appreciation still comes less readily when I have less material to work with. Here, the gems were fewer and farther between, and the brightness was lessened to the point that I began to wonder about efficacy of translations and even the potential worth of watching the movie to more fully appreciate the book. But no matter. I'm still eyeing that movie, but the book has enough going for it for my full appreciation to build upon my more simplistic 'like'.

French Indochina was a new world of literature for me, as was Duras' writing from a viewpoint both strange and familiar. The older man with younger woman/girl is a fictional trope that is uncomfortably common, but it is a rare thing when the narration is so fully subsumed in the latter. The pages make for a strange immersion of vague hints coupled with all too present pain, a butterfly dagger that flits and pierces through both fact and thought, rarely resting at a comfortable distance before spanning too wide or delving too deep. The necessity of conscious stringing together so many small beads on such a long and tenuous wire was frustrating at times, but the ending brought with it a cohesiveness of clarity that made the journey worthwhile, if not explicit.

However, I am still left with a feeling of dissatisfaction, most due to the Orientalism question looming large over the European portrayal of Asian characters. Whether the writing was riddled with stereotypes or otherwise is a question that I am currently powerless to answer, due to my little experience with such literature. In that, this book has proved a gateway drug to a realm that I now know needs exploring, preferably from the viewpoints of the cultures themselves. Much to my chagrin, I have only one Vietnamese work in my virtual shelves, so any recommendations along the lines of that as well as other cultures encompassed by the Indochina label would be most welcomed.

One last note: now that I've finished off Proust's ISoLT to a satisfactory extent, I see it everywhere. Whether 'tis a blessing or a curse is never to be decided. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
Shades of Lolita. Gag. ( )
  autumnesf | Dec 5, 2013 |
Autobiographical story of growing up in Vietnam. Her parents are teachers. The father dies and the mother stays. They are poor. The mother has a mental illness and doesn't really pay attention to the children. The oldest son steals everything from the family to support his drug habit. The girl, age 15, becomes a lover to a Chinese male.There is no connectivity to anything. She write emotionless and describes sex as something she is observing. Is she actually being sexually abused to support the family and no one does anything to stop it? ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
I'm not sure I really understood this book, my first attempt at a work by Duras. It's an autobiographical novel about a young white girl and her affair with an older Chinese man in Indochina. The title suggests this is the main narrative thread, but the narrator's relationship with her everchanging mother and her two brothers is also central. The problem for me was that I felt like I didn't have enough inside information to understand what was really going on. This was more like a series of musings and I didn't have the necessary background information to fill in the gaps.

I found the writing style unique and interesting. Words like misty, meandering, and dreamy come to mind. I also found my internal reading voice reading the words in monotone. Duras also shifts point of view subtly - using "I" at the beginning and "she" by the end. Not sure why.

This was an interesting reading experience, but I think I need to read more of Duras's writing to truly get it. ( )
  japaul22 | Oct 14, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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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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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.
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:23 -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.

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