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The Lover (The Lover #1)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  23,824 Ratings  ·  1,600 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
ebook, 128 pages
Published July 6th 2011 by Pantheon (first published 1984)
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Claudia What I liked most in this book is how the author describes some parts, such as the ferry ride across the river or when her mother washed the house.…moreWhat I liked most in this book is how the author describes some parts, such as the ferry ride across the river or when her mother washed the house. She seemed to paint a picture in these parts. Also I liked the pain and love in the relationship between the girl and her lover, a love that could not be experienced with all its drama.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeffrey Keeten

“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.

I opened the first page of Marguerite DurasThe Lover, and there she was, the girl with no name with all her ancient reminiscences. I heard her voice as if it were inside my head, Very early in my life it was too late. It was already too late when I was eighteen. How did you get there, my friend? Or should I call you my sister, since from the beginning I discovered we shared anguishes and most certainly a great multitude of passions and dreams?

We both were introduced to this world by tortured
Mar 08, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The ones who love and the ones who don't
Shelves: read-in-2015
Who is “L’amant”(*)? The characters in this story are nameless. A puzzle of personal pronouns draws an anonymous canvas that perspires with alienation and the dense humidity of a foreign land, that mourns the loss of youth and innocence, that invokes the image of photographs never taken, the sound of words never uttered and the mirage of a future that never existed. Only the condensed ardour that clouds up the windows of a small hotel room, where two slippery bodies abandon themselves to contort ...more
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye

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
Steven  Godin
Jan 12, 2017 Steven Godin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, french, amour
A world away from the intelligence insulting and glorified trash of E. L. James, Marguerite Duras has written a sparse, minimal and painfully sad erotic love story that never gets drawn into the realms of romantic fantasy.
And to deeply appreciate 'The Lover', it needs to be looked at from the perspective of Duras herself. Pen was put to paper when she was 70, it's predominantly all about looking back on memories past, and I say it's a painful read, painful in respects to nostalgia, as nostalgia
Oct 13, 2015 Vessey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vessey by: Jeffrey
Shelves: romance, 4-stars, erotica

"His hands are expert, marvelous, perfect. He calls me a whore, a slut, he says I’m his only love, and that’s what he ought to say, and what you do say when you just let things say themselves, when you let the body alone, to seek and find and take what it likes, and then everything is right, and nothing’s wasted, the waste is covered over and all is swept away in the torrent, in the force of desire."

Desire. Is it pleasure or pain? Can and should we try to control it? To trust it? To understand
Apr 02, 2010 Praj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: md
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
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
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
Now I know why several friends have mentioned that this book has special meaning for them. I've never had a reading experience quite like this. A woman writing from her older years about her teenage experiences in Viet Nam with her Chinese lover, but also with her family. And also of her experience of Viet Nam itself--the natural world, the skies and trees and people, and customs both strange and familiar.

The book is an experiential wonder, slipping between past and present, the concrete observ
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
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 18, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: sex, french
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.
Yes, the novel (as well as the movie where the scene ab
Nov 30, 2015 May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: estantería
Una novela increíble: dura, real, cercana y luchadora.
Me ha encantado. Duras pasa a ser todo un referente.
Apr 04, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012, france
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
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
Mar 13, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little book about an intense, illicit affair between a 15 yr old poor white girl and a wealthy 27 year old Chinese man.
Duras writes a very atmospheric novella here..
I liked it
Linda Wells
Apr 27, 2017 Linda Wells rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marguerite Duras has written the remarkable story of her childhood love affair with a wealthy older man, who happened to be Chinese. Their tumultuous love affair took place in pre-war Saigon in 1929. The book is written with exquisite language expressing perfectly the powerful emotions of the innocent girl as she experiences first love with an exotic and loving older man.

The young French girl faces disgrace on many levels. She is no longer respected because of the illicit affair; the fact that
Oct 19, 2012 Stela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Barry Pierce
In a novel that is oft compared to Nabokov's Lolita, Duras writes a beautiful autobiographical tale of love and youth. The narrator recalls her youth when she, at fifteen, enters a relationship with Chinese man in his late twenties. Duras' prose gushes with life and verve. Her narrator seems almost omnipresent as she describes her family, her youth, and her travels. This is a resplendent little one-sitting novel that flutters in your hands.
Nota sobre esta edição: Acho que iam caindo os olhos a um senhor (já com alguma idade) quando viu a capa do livro que eu estava a ler, sejamos sinceros, esta capa é bastante ousada.

"O Amante" foi o primeiro livro de Marguerite Duras que li. Pelo que li, percebi que a história deste romance tem muitos paralelismos com a vida da autora, não sendo, no entanto, nítida a fronteira entre a realidade e a ficção.

"Nas histórias dos meus livros que se referem à minha infância, não sei mais o que evitei di
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.
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
B the BookAddict
Oct 20, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  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★
Ben Loory
fragmented, drab, and full of unpleasant people. had a nice part about a hat though.
Feb 18, 2012 Huy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Năm 2010: lần đầu tôi đọc "Người tình", có lẽ vì ngổn ngang với việc học hành thi cử, nên gần 200 trang sách trôi qua đầu, chẳng để lại điều gì, chỉ nhớ đến cuốn tiểu thuyết như những dòng tự truyện lan man, không có đầu đuôi.
Năm 2013: tôi được tặng cuốn "Người tình", người tặng (như trong lời đề tặng có ghi rõ) thừa biết tôi đã đọc cuốn sách, nhưng vẫn muốn tặng tôi, tôi đọc lời đề tặng rồi xếp sách lại, không hứa hẹn sẽ mở ra lần nữa.
Cuối năm 2015: rất tình cờ, tôi đặt chân đến Sa Đéc, không c
My brothers gorge themselves without saying a word to him. They don't look at him either. They can't. They're incapable of it. If they could, if they could make the effort to see him, they'd be capable of studying, of observing the elementary rules of society.

There are a plethora of splendid reviews of The Lover by my GR friends. Read those. My own reactions were of a lower cut, more bruised and bottom shelf. I found the novel to be one of shame. Take the girl and her situation, colonials on the
Apr 12, 2015 FeReSHte rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ron Palmer
Feb 24, 2008 Ron Palmer rated it it was ok  ·  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
Alice Poon
Feb 23, 2017 Alice Poon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

3.5 stars rounded up. The emotions portrayed are not only related to the poignant forbidden love between two unlikely lovers because of their differences in age, race and class, but also connected to tense family relationships, especially the bitter-sweet mother-daughter relationship.

My nit-pick was that sometimes I got confused about the timeline as the story flips back and forth.

I had seen the movie many years ago and now think that I enjoyed the film more than the novel.
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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 about Marguerite Duras...

Other Books in the Series

The Lover (2 books)
  • The North China Lover

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“Very early in my life it was too late.” 514 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.” 193 likes
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