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The North China Lover

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,176 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Far more daring and truthful than any of her other novels, The North China Lover is a fascinating retelling of the dramatic experiences of Duras’s adolescence that shaped her most famous work. Initially conceived as notes toward a screenplay for The Lover, this later novel, written toward the end of her life, emphasizes the tougher aspects of her youth in Indochina and pos ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2008 by New Press, The (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,886)
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Bistra Ivanova
Написана след "несъгласието" (твърдят издателите от Колибри) на Дюрас с филмовата версия на The Lover на Жан-Жак Ано (разбирам я; и аз не успях да го догледам), на тази книга определено повече й подхожда заглавието "Любовникът - пренаписан". Точно това е направила Дюрас в края на кариерата си и то по доста плосък начин. Ако първият Любовник оцених така високо заради оголването на историята до скелет и премахването на всяка излишна сцена, изречение, думичка, запетайка, тук тежестта на видимите де ...more
Evan
Maggie Duras was a hot little firecracker, giving up her 14-year-old stuff to the family, the natives, and so on.

But seriously, folks....

This is an expanded recast of a tale Duras had already told in the earlier, shorter and much better autobiographical novel, The Lover , and although this one starts off just as beautifully and has lovely bits throughout, it gradually becomes stultifyingly repetitive and dull and fizzles out.

The earlier version, much more internalized, focused, concentrated and
...more
Melodie Ramone
It's been several years since I read this book. I still give it five stars for the reason that it stayed with me. I remember the swirl of emotions it brought up as I turned the pages. The sympathy I had for the young girl, the disgust mingled with strange understanding of her mother. And the empathy and repulsion I felt toward the Lover. Marguerite Duras certainly had a talent for being blunt, for making you accept the controversy of her situation simply as a historical fact. She kept you so wra ...more
Emily
Inspired by Richard's commitment to multi-lingual reading and blogging, I've decided to try to work on my languages as well, and read more novels in the original French. How many is "more"? Well, last year I read a grand total of one. So, in order to top that, this year I'll need to read...two. Maybe the year after that I'll read three. As you can tell, I'm practically signing up for À la recherche du temps perdu already.

Considering that last year's pick, J.M.G. Le Clézio's Ourania , was someth
...more
Alshia Moyez
You know, I don't even want to give this book 3 stars, but I'm being generous and sticking to my rule (even thought I had to break it with this author not too long ago) of never giving below a 3-star rating, except in extreme cases.

Maybe there's something wrong with me or perhaps my tastes have changed, but I used to be SUCH a hardcore fan of hers-truly, a fangirl. Especially of The Lover and this book (even though it's just The Lover with bigger font & more white space).

Today, though, it's
...more
Writerlibrarian
If you haven't read the first book and seen the movie it's probably rubbish with pretty words. But I've read the original, I've seen the movie, I've read some about Duras' life so this remixing of the most important part of her life in reaction to the movie (which she did not approve of) in a time where she was battling alcohol addiction, was in and out of hospital is brutally raw. I like it. I like it even more than the original and it makes me want to read about the novel she wrote about her m ...more
Grace
I wasn’t expecting much. I heard that it was basically a retelling of the Lover and wasn’t nearly as good. Given all of the negative reviews, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It has quickly become a favorite. I read the Lover about a year ago and saw the film adaptation shortly after. I didn’t think that she could add much to the already rich story, but she really did.

The North China Lover is a simple story. It is semi-autobiographical and tells of an affair Duras had as a child wi
...more
Waleed Alshaiji
جميلة كما هو متوقع... تكنيك فرنسي محض، ولكنه عميق جدا. حب، ألم، شغف، استعمار، لا اظنه ببعيد عن السيرة الذاتية للكاتبة.
Ogier
Duras was hired by the director Jean-Jacques Annaud to write the screenplay for a film to be made from her The Lover but due to a disagreement with Annaud, quit the production. She then began another retelling of the early years of her life, the referenced novel. She began the novel as a screeplay but along the way in morphs into a novel.
Certainly one of the major differences between the two works comes at the end of The North China Lover, a description in explicit language of an incestuous epi
...more
Cheri
I was entranced with The Lover when I read it in college, and curious as to how this novel-as-screenplay would feel to me almost a decade later.

Duras is a sensuous, spare and intimate writer whose prose hints at meaning that only she knows fully. I found myself reading and re-reading The North China Lover to discover the truth - did she have an affair with her brother? Was she in love with her North China lover? or was she prostituted?

Details that had been forgotten were revealed, and the mela
...more
Beth
This book was the biggest disappointment of my life. I still can't believe how much I disliked it. The Lover is one of my favorite novels ever, and I was excited to read a more in-depth re-telling of the story; but, all I got was -- I don't even know what. I adore Duras and her prose, and am generally tolerant of self-indulgence in artists, but something about this book made me feel like I was being rambled to by a pathetic middle-aged lady who was trying to convince me of how transcendent her ...more
Hemilya
Certainly more revealing than 'The Lover', this book made me tremble with sadness over the story of the two lovers. Their love, desire and ultimate despair were pictured so... real.
I loved especially when he talked to her in Chinese, and the moment she understood how lonely he was, as if surrounded by his country. His fragile body, his beautiful hands, the way he was unsure of himself - I almost fell in love with him myself.
The Child too, her ability to love, and the way she was able to live fur
...more
Fernanda
Fue un golpe de suerte encontrar este libro en perfectas condiciones a un precio de regalo. Es mi segundo libro de Duras y en lo personal creo que tiene una hermosa manera de escribir. Es simple pero tan humana que te llega directo al corazón.
No he leído el libro del amante, pero creo que esta versión es fabulosa. La historia fue curioso y los personajes extrañamente humanos. He quedado prendada de este libro. Una historia real de primera mano llena de detalles y conversaciones simples y algo ba
...more
Caley
Long, overdone, and repetitive. The prose was so sparse that the book ended up feeling disjointed and slightly pretentious. I liked that I was given more insight into her relationship than "The Lover" provided, but that's the only positive aspect of this novel. By the end, I was so sick of reading "We cried. We laughed. He laughed. I cried" that I too almost cried. Out of frustration. Wouldn't recommend this book.
Laura Jennings
Chosen for the narrative voice, the sense of place and the balance of narrative versus incident. Where Duras takes her largely autobiographical memoir and makes it a more traditional piece of fiction.
Histteach24
Read The Lover first-this is an extended version of it. Poetic, beautifully written and haunting. What is love versus obsession? Was this love wrong? She is a captivating author!
Michael
Was far more thoughtful then the LOVER and gave the detail that the first book and movie missed. Especially about the father of the Chinese man.
Aisha Al-sulaiti
بودي لو افجرها.
Martin Hernandez
En 1984, Marguerite DURAS , entonces de 70 años de edad, publicó una novela breve, autobiográfica, llamada "El Amante", acerca de su relación, a los 15 años de edad, con un chino de 27 años, millonario, en Indochina, en esa época colonia francesa. La novela se convirtió en un éxito de ventas instantáneo. Luego, en mayo de 1990, la autora se enteró de la muerte del chino de la novela, su ex amante, su primera relación, su primer amor. Entonces decidió reescribir esa historia. Ampliarla, profundiz ...more
Sandy
This beautiful, sad book is also an exquisite movie that I have seen several times and will see again. The version of the book that I have read must be later than the original as it is footnoted throughout with ideas for a film of the story.... so, I don't know quite where the two knit together but they are both..... extra-ordinary - (not EXTRAORDINARY with lots of !!!!!! afterwards, but a quiet 'extra' in front of 'ordinary' - not because it does not deserve accolades but because, in our societ ...more
António Ganhão
Ele diz:
-Vou magoar-te.
Ela diz que sabe.
Ele diz também que às vezes as mulheres gritam. Que as Chinesas gritam. Mas que só magoa uma vez na vida, e para sempre.


Neste livro existe uma palavra a partir da qual se ergue toda a história. Essa palavra é «criança», a criança. A paixão de um adulto por uma menina. A palavra criança enche este relato de inocência.

Um chinês adulto apaixona-se por uma menina. É rico e ocioso. Dedica-se às mulheres, ao jogo e a fumar ópio. “Não fazer nada é uma profissão.
...more
Radhika
One of my favorite books, by my favorite writer. I first read Duras when I was 15 and i think, that has made all the difference. Her writing touched me where no other writer has been able to reach till date. The story, the plot, the characters - are all irrelevant in her book. You can't pickle it under fiction or non fiction. No flowery language, no melodrama. Reading her is just an experience, very intense, often tumultuous. This book is about her love affair with the rich North Chinese guy - y ...more
Astrid
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie
There are those who say that The Lover is a much better telling of this affair. Not having read it, I cannot agree or disagree. I did see the movie many years ago and it was what made me pick up this book, which was written after Duras was elderly and her lover had died. Whatever its other failings might be, this book was beautifully written and evocative. Duras made me see, hear, and smell the street that the bachelor's quarters were on. She made me see and feel the love between these two young ...more
Luna
Ci sono amori che non si possono raccontare, ma solo vivere per sempre. Finch� uno sa che l'altro � vivo, testimone di ci� che � stato, che non sar� pi� nella realt�, ma che � padrone di ogni gesto. L'Amante, fu un tentativo, ma "loro" esistevano ancora. Poi, lui mor� e lei rimase sola con il suo amore, e il suo dolore. Solo a quel punto ha potuto, ha dovuto, urlarlo al mondo intero, raccontarlo, perch� non si perdesse. Raccontare del desiderio, delle lacrime, della dolcezza, della rabbia, del d ...more
Mena
A strangely beautiful yet disturbing book, The North China Lover is a retelling of Duras's classic semi-autobiography focused on her childhood affair with an older Chinese man in colonial Vietnam. The book touches on the complexities of illicit love, racial tensions in South-East Asia, and the bizarre and tragic bonds of familial obligation. This version is rendered in the third person and takes on the qualities of a film script, with notes providing context and suggesting techniques/shots (Dura ...more
Ape
2006 bookcrossing:

I'd never heard of Marguerite Duras before. This is about her early life in Vietnam, but for me it was just a story. And a bit of an odd/depressing one at that.

She's 14 in the book, has an incestuous relationship with one of her brothers and an affair with a twenty-seven year old Chinese man. An affair which they both know must end, so they spent a lot of time talking about how miserable this makes them and crying.

It's written as if someone is watching the film and telling you
...more
Laura
Para empezar la forma en la que está escrito no me gustó nada. Supuestamente está pensado para que sea llevado a la pantalla grande, pero para eso hubiera escrito un guión en vez de este relato entrecortado con frases de una sola palabra. En ese sentido es una porquería pero no es lo peor.
No me pareció estar frente a una historia de amor imposible sino frente a un pederasta sin remordimientos que corrompe a una nena chica que no tuvo una buena educación y cuya madre está ausente. Lo más serio es
...more
Jycel
Qué raro se me hizo leer este libro. No sabría exactamente porqué, pero no me ha gustado.

Los personajes no están definidos. El estilo de la escritura es casi inexistente, va de párrafo a párrafo sin ninguna coherencia, a veces es como si estuvieras leyendo un guión para cine, uno muy malo.

No tiene nada ningún sentido, y para colmo de males, encima, la autora va introduciendo notas a fin de página como ideas para una futura película, que te sacan completamente de la historia todo el tiempo. Qué
...more
Alan
Despite my 3 star for the author's creative style in "The Lover," this one didn't measure up. As a matter of fact, this book really annoyed me. I was so glad to finish it. Unless you are fascinated with Duras and her life, this book isn't necessary. At first I liked this one. I got details that weren't included in the first rendition of this memoir. But as this one progressed, the ugliness of the author's life surpassed any value in the remaining pages. Even the writing style deteriorated and di ...more
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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
More about Marguerite Duras...
The Lover Hiroshima mon amour Moderato cantabile The Ravishing of Lol Stein The Malady of Death

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“La historia está ahí, inevitable ya. La de un amor cegador. Siempre por venir, jamás olvidado.” 4 likes
“Ma... dirlo così... come potrei. Come si può valutare una cosa simile... il disonore?"
"Non dobbiamo valutare una cosa simile, signora. Deve dirmi che somma le piacerebbe avere.”
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