Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lover” as Want to Read:
The Lover
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lover

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  17,279 ratings  ·  1,066 reviews
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. I
...more
ebook, 128 pages
Published July 6th 2011 by Pantheon (first published 1984)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lover, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

George Doliah This is a delightful read. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and recommend to any who tend to have a desire for something containing a bit of romance as…moreThis is a delightful read. I enjoyed the book quite a bit and recommend to any who tend to have a desire for something containing a bit of romance as well as international entanglements.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jeffrey Keeten
***AWARDED THE 1984 PRIX GONCOURT***

“The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any centre to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one.”


 photo Marguerite_Duras_zpse0gigo7l.jpg
The young Marguerite Duras

She has pretty hair, copper hair that spools down her back in waves of alluring movement. People always comment on how beautiful her hair is which she interprets to mean that they don’t find her pretty.

She cuts her hair off.

She
...more
Steve Sckenda
He cries during sex. She thinks him weak. He loves. She desires. He wants it gentle. She wants it rough. He feels sorry for her. She refuses his pity. He is privileged. She comes on her own terms. He is rich but sensitive. She is is poor but tough. He carries within him supreme elegance, perfume, and honey-skinned femininity. She wears a fedora and a man’s belt with her dress and lamé heels, and she fantasizes of bringing other women to their bed. He is Chinese. She is in French. He is 27. She i ...more
karen
i found myself utterly muted by this book, which is problematic because the book club meets this friday, and they aren't going to be so dazzled by my bruschetta that i can get away with just hiding behind the tiny jewess and drinking their wine. so i have to think of something.

consulting the "reading group handbook" by rachel w. jacobsohn, bought for my final school assignment, i learn how to think about literature:

characters and story line: young french girl, older chinese man falling into bed
...more
Ian Pagan-Gladfly
Desire

The first time ever I saw your face was on the ferry.

I had my head buried in a copy of the South China Morning Post. My father had said, if I read it every day, I would learn about the world around us, and his boy would become a man. Only then would I be ready to take over the family business after him.

He was right, in his way. I was thin and soft and naïve, even though I had just returned from two years in Paris. I was still a boy, at 28. I’m sure I would have continued as a boy, unless I
...more
Praj
Dearest Marguerite,

I know it is awfully late now, to write to you. I could not resist though. I thought about you the other day; as her eyes scanned the Chinese gentleman for the first time, on the ferry to Mekong. The demure young features veiled under a mannish hat, gave away precocious impression of a 15 year old girl as he offered her a cigarette. The statuesque Chinaman who exuded charm and eloquence was besotted by her as she was by him. He was to be her lover; an escape from the abhorrent
...more
Aubrey
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
...more
Samadrita
Something dark and deeply unsettling simmers angrily beneath the surface of this narrative. This 'something' becomes so potent a force, arousing fear and feelings of disgust in the reader, that one is often tempted to abandon reading and save oneself from all the unpleasantness Duras shoves right in the reader's face without inhibitions.

'The Lover' is a brutally honest attempt at reconciliation with the past, irrespective of how much hurt and damage it may have caused. It is a tale of Marguerite
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 13, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: french, sex
Probably the most famous among the many brilliant works of Marguerite Duras (1914-1996), The Lover (French: L’Amant) is based on her actual experience while living in Vietnam during her teen years. Published in 1984, this autobiographical novel has been translated to 43 languages, awarded the 1984 Prix Goncourt and was turned into a movie in 1992 starring Jane March as the 15-1/2-y/o French girl Duras and Tony Leung as 17-y/o Chinese Man.
thelover
Yes, the novel (as well as the movie where the scene ab
...more
Manny
L'Amant looks simple on the surface. Marguerite Duras, about 70 when she wrote it, tells you about her first affair, with a rich Chinese man. She was a fifteen year old girl in colonial-era Vietnam, he was a dozen years older. Her family was desperately poor. Her mentally ill mother tacitly condoned the relationship; Marguerite's lover was generous, and they needed the money. Then she screamed at her daughter and beat her. The language is plain, unadorned and impersonal, stripped to its bare ess ...more
Mary
The book is like being trapped inside a deep and disturbing dream on a stifling hot summer night. A dream steeped in melancholy and half memories and you wake up choking. Is it Duras' writing style or the translation that creates the sparse atmosphere, the jumping around from present to memory to thoughts to...I'm not sure exactly what. But it worked so beautifully, so tragically.

Early in the book Duras writes about her mother in a way that did something to me. I found myself tearing up, my hear
...more
Janet
I loved the strangeness of this woman's interior, her voice, the way such a slim volume can sum up an entire life, compelling and erotic and intellectual all at once.
******************
rereading... it's like craving a certain great dish and you know just who has it on the menu.

Such assurance. I like the way Duras handles the point of view. It begins with an older voice, a woman looking back at her life, a particular moment of her life, and she uses the past tense, whereas when she is in the past
...more
Loederkoningin
It appears as though Duras has entrusted her memories to paper in an involuntary attempt to come clean: in essence this is a fascinating story. I realize what an intriguing experience this must have been for her. As a reader however, I felt like being provided with mere glimpses of a rich and interesting biography. Duras' memories you must color with your own imagination. You need to speculate, in order to fill in the gaps, the details the authors sparse prose does not offer.

If anything, this w
...more
Stela
Followed by an English version

J’ai lu quelque part que Julia Kristeva avertissait les lecteurs d’un équilibre mental fragile de ne pas lire les œuvres de Marguerite Duras, parce qu’elles pourraient les amener près de l’expérience de la folie. Et que « L’amant », de ce point de vue, ne serait que l’histoire de la folie gothique de la mère de la narratrice, à laquelle cette dernière essaie de s’échapper en effaçant son image.
L’hypothèse est séduisante, mais elle ne couvre qu’une partie de ce mini
...more
FeReSHte
حیف درخت
حیف کاغذ! انصافن هم چه کاغذ جنس خوبی بود
حیف شش هزار و پونصد تومن پول نازنینم
حیف وقت
حیف چشمام
حیف از اون جایی که این کتاب تو کتابخونه م اشغال میکنه
.
.
.
دیگه حرفی ندارم فعلن..تا بعد
:-|

پ.ن: بعد از دو کتاب اثر دوراس مطمئن شده ام که من دوراس را نه تنها دوست نمی دارم که از ایشان بدم هم می آید.تنها احساسی که لا به لای نوشته اش گرفتم سرما بود. دریغ از ذره ای حس ارتباط و نزدیکی بین خواننده و نویسنده. انگار که واسه دل خودش می نویسه فقط و دیگر هیچ! یه جور شلختگی و اهمیت ندادن به مخاطب

و تا یادم نرفته
...more
Ron Palmer
Apr 15, 2008 Ron Palmer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Leah Probst
I finally finished Marguerite Duras' "The Lover." Why did it take me this long to read a 117-page novel? (I posted it on my currently-reading shelf on Feb. 25th). [HINT: It is not because I didn't want it to end.]

Was it the nature of the writing: random, unconnected musings by une femme d'un certain age of her colonial adolescence? Was it the frustrating way she shifted subjects, time, and place at will? Maybe it is the movie-lover in me (I don't want to reveal too much about myself (foreignfilm
...more
B the BookAddict
Feb 28, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Jeffrey Keeten



Our first sexual relationship, whether emotive or merely physical, is so powerful that it is remembered from that very first moment until the end of our days.

It may serve to guide us to future lovers; it may fulfil and satisfy us immediately; while others may yearn for that same feeling for the rest of their lives.

I, too, read The Lover to be Marguerite Duras writing about herself. 4
...more
MJ Nicholls
If you like lyrical romantic prose in staccato sentences, written in the literariest of all literary styles, this is the novella for you. If you don’t, this isn’t the novella for you. Me, I’ve read this story a million times before. Goodnight March.
Evan
I could see myself re-reading this. There was a sigh in my throat and hardness in the loins, simultaneously. High yearning quotient. Prose as poetry. Smooth. Written in simple language, yet dense in feeling. Duras reveals bits in back and forth chronology, sort of the way real people remember their lives, but not the way they normally would try to convey it to others - thus a sense of getting into the teller's thoughts. I loved this.
-E
El
I do not find anything particularly attractive about 15-year-old girls having relationships with men almost double their age. I'm not going to sit here and get all judgmental though as this is neither the time nor place for that discussion.

I do, however, find attractive Duras's prose in this autobiographical short novel. The fact that she wrote such a beautiful story about such a personally disturbing topic actually blows my mind a little. It's like when I read Lolita. Again: disturbing story, b
...more
Celeste
"Um amor sapiente tem no tacto
Para encontrar a luz que acende nos corpos…
Iluminados flancos, dom inato de achar o brilho que
escorre pelos contornos."

Natália Correia


Numa narrativa autobiográfica Margueritte Duras relata-nos de uma forma muito íntima a descoberta da sua sexualidade através das mãos do amante de Cholen, mestre do amor sapiente.

Ela tinha quinze anos e meio, era pobre e filha de franceses. Ele tinha vinte e sete anos, era rico e chinês.

Na Indochina, colónia francesa, nasce uma paixão
...more
James
An astonishing novella of insight, Marguerite Duras depicts the controversial love affair between a pubescent French girl, and her older Chinese lover. Set against the backdrop of the tense French colonial vision, Duras' Saigon is oppressive, strange and juxtaposing. The novel is one of relationships and how that takes on physical space; not merely content with writing a novella on love, Duras explores imperialism, the family dynamic, and perhaps most importantly female sexuality. Having grown u ...more
Duane
I originally saw this book listed in Guardian's 1000 books to read before you die. I was drawn to the haunting picture of the girl on the cover which turns out to be Marguerite Duras. I was blown away by this little book. I can't believe it is not more prominent in the mainstream of modern literature. It's a French novel, beautifully written, and set in early 20th century French Colonial Indochina, primarily Vietnam. It's the story of a 15 year old French girl and her affair with an older man, a ...more
Nate D
A spectral movement, back and forth, through the sharp distinct particulars of memory, gleaming or troubled or both. Family and other. Sex as means of taking agency in one's life perhaps. Things that haunt, things that are lost. The end of an era, of colonialism, of European relevance in the far east. A rejection of the destroyed past.
Ben Loory
fragmented, drab, and full of unpleasant people. had a nice part about a hat though.
Jenna
I first heard of this book decades ago, but initially resisted reading it.

As a youngster, I was indignant that the world's best-known novel about Vietnam was written not by a Vietnamese person, but by a French person. I was indignant that the love affair it describes is between a French woman and a Chinese man, rather than between two Vietnamese people. Picture me at the age of eleven or twelve: a sensitive bookish Vietnamese-American girl, eagerly looking forward to reading this world-famous ro
...more
Theresa
Oct 24, 2007 Theresa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only my closest friends
This is my favorite book ever. I first came across the story when I was 13; baby-sitting one weekend at a neighbor's house. But I didn't actually read the book until I was 21 and it changed my life.

Marguerite Duras's prose is so powerful that I have full paragraphs memorized. Each sentence is pure poetry. Not everyone will get it, but it hit me like a ligthening bolt. I felt like someone reached inside & took a look at my soul & then wrote my innermost secrets down. I love Marguerite Du
...more
Lightsey
So I have a problem with fiction. A problem with voices, really--I don't like a lot of them. The result is that I tend to read the same novels over and over. Well, honestly, I tend to read Jane Austen novels over and over. But this has me going. A brilliantly perverse description of a young girl's outfit (just before her first seduction) opens the novella, and. . . well. . . take it from there. . . so far, delicious.

I finished this and turned it over and read the first few pages again. One of th
...more
Kelly
This was way better than watching the movie, though I have to say it does take some of the pleasure out of the reading when I spend most of my time deconstructing grammar mechanically. Though that made the most beautiful phrases all that more impactful- due to my surprise that I could even recognize their beauty even after I finally understood the sentence. I look forward to returning to this when my French is as effortless as her prose.
Arwen56
Bellissimo racconto autobiografico della Duras. Intenso e doloroso. Un irrisolto conflitto famigliare, che lascerà dietro di sé pesanti strascichi. Un interrogarsi condotto con estrema lucidità, andando avanti e indietro nel tempo. Una difficile storia d’amore, e anche di sesso, narrata senza falsi pudori, ma con estrema delicatezza.
E anche il piacere del film che ne è stato tratto, diretto da Jean-Jacques Annaud. Coinvolgente, sensuale e struggente.

Un’accoppiata da non perdersi per nessun motiv
...more
Eddie Watkins
Within the sorrowful accretions of any ravaged face is an eternal episode, even just a moment, of breathtaking beauty; but even that beauty brings pain. The Lover floats on that pain.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: The Lover - Marguerite Duras 7 32 Aug 05, 2014 10:57AM  
What other love stories that are this well-written? 7 84 Jan 13, 2014 12:38PM  
صالون الجمعة: Livre du mois de novembre: L'amant 2 56 Nov 12, 2013 09:48AM  
The Lover, by Marguerite Duras 4 69 Mar 28, 2013 10:23PM  
Film or book ? 1 4 Sep 29, 2012 04:31AM  
  • The Devil in the Flesh
  • Simple Passion
  • Chéri (Chéri #1)
  • Memoirs of Hadrian
  • The Opposing Shore
  • Sleepless Nights
  • W, or the Memory of Childhood
  • Nightwood
  • The Flanders Road
  • Calligrammes: Poems of Peace and War (1913-1916)
  • Our Lady of the Flowers
  • Good Morning, Midnight
  • Nadja
  • The Holy Terrors
  • Strait is the Gate (La Porte Etroite)
  • Enfance
  • Death Sentence
  • La confession d'un enfant du siècle
163
Marguerite Donnadieu, better known as Marguerite Duras (pronounced [maʀgəʁit dyˈʁas] in French) (April 4, 1914 – March 3, 1996) was a French writer and film director.

She was born at Gia-Dinh, near Saigon, French Indochina (now Vietnam), after her parents responded to a campaign by the French government encouraging people to work in the colony.

Marguerite's father fell ill soon after their arrival,
...more
More about Marguerite Duras...
Hiroshima mon amour Moderato cantabile The Ravishing of Lol Stein The North China Lover The Malady of Death

Share This Book

“Very early in my life it was too late.” 351 likes
“Suddenly, all at once, she knows, knows that he doesn't understand her, that he never will, that he lacks the power to understand such perverseness. And that he can never move fast enough to catch her.” 133 likes
More quotes…