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The North China Lover (The Lover)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,357 ratings  ·  94 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 The New Press (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

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Sofía (Софья)
Esta novela es un cuadro escrito. Con cortas y precisas pinceladas Marguerite Duras dibuja para nosotros una historia. Una historia de amor, de deseo, de pasión. Una historia franca y hermosa.
Ella. Él.
Una francesa. Un chino.
Una adolescente. Un hombre adulto.
Ella es de una familia adeudada. Él es uno de los hombres más ricos en China.
La personalidad de ella es increíble. Es franca, directa, curiosa, de carácter fuerte.
Él sorprende con su sensibilidad y generosidad.
La noche.
Un calor insoportable.
Non riesco a pensare a questo libro se non come al seguito di quello che da anni ormai conosco, e che ho amato tanto, sebbene in realtà sia lo stesso. La stessa storia, che pure era stata raccontata così bene, qui viene arricchita, non sempre migliorata, e resa ancora più crudele. E ho idea che, se Marguerite Duras fosse vissuta abbastanza da scriverla altre cento volte, per cento volte ancora mi avrebbe fatto male.
Marguerite Duras must have led an extraordinary, emotionally complex, devastating childhood if any of the scenes of this work are real. Because my French is a work in progress, I read L'Amant de la Chine du Nord (The North China Lover) in short bursts over the summer when I was in the mood, but in the last few days I decided to devote a few hours to it every day, and I don't regret it at all.

Reading in other languages really is such a different experience, and that first moment when you go a who
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
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 somet
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
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
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 an
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
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
Inte lika bra och suggestiv som Älskaren, men ojojoj vilket geni hon är. Duras duras duras duras ...more
Waleed Alshaiji
جميلة كما هو متوقع... تكنيك فرنسي محض، ولكنه عميق جدا. حب، ألم، شغف، استعمار، لا اظنه ببعيد عن السيرة الذاتية للكاتبة.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Juan José
Un livre bizarre mais hypnotique. Avec une style cinématographique et terse comme la soie. Des dialogues impeccables. Une histoire triste avec beaucoup de larmes. L'Indochine comme fantasme et Phantom de la mémoire.
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.
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!
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.
Nathalie Legro
No le quiero dar un cuatro a este libro pero tampoco un tres. Dejémoslo en un 3.5. Para muchos es problemática la manera en la que está escrito, es cierto, a veces puede ser un poco confuso, pero la verdad a mí me ha gustado (a veces) como la autora se mete en la historia sin ser la narradora.
No me gustó, las referencias que se hacen al primer libro. Las observaciones sobre cómo sería la película, tiende a ser tedioso en ocasiones. Y definitivamente no me gustó la extraña relación erótica que ti
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, profundi ...more
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.
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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
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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

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“La historia está ahí, inevitable ya. La de un amor cegador. Siempre por venir, jamás olvidado.” 5 likes
“La niña y el hermano pequeño lloran el uno junto al otro, sellados por una
desesperación de sangre que no pueden compartir con nadie. Thanh los mantiene
abrazados, acaricia sus rostros, sus manos. Llora por sus llantos, llora también por
el llanto de la madre. Por amor a la niña.
La madre. Se ha girado hacia el barco. No le vemos la cara. Da media vuelta. Va
hacia las rejas, se apoya en la reja al lado de los hijos que le quedan. Llora sin
ruido, bajito, ya no tiene fuerzas. Ya está muerta. Al igual que Thanh acaricia el
cuerpo de sus dos hijos separados del otro, su hermano mayor, ese hijo perdido
por el amor de su madre, un error de Dios.”
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