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Four Novels: The Square / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas
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Four Novels: The Square / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  362 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Long acknowledged as one of the most important literary figures in France, Marguerite Duras has garnered worldwide praise for her work, from the acclaimed screenplay Hiroshima Mon Amour to the best-selling novel The Lover. In this volume of four short novels, Duras demonstrates her remarkable ability to create an emotional intensity and unity by focusing on the intimate de
Paperback, 254 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1965)
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Nate D
Apr 11, 2014 Nate D rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who wait in contemplation of something they may be unable to act upon
Recommended to Nate D by: in parallel with the Spectacle film series
Taken all together these early-mid Duras novels express her ability to render a kind of charged stillness, where much of the action and the prime tensions and relevances remain off camera or even entirely unexpressed. Individual reviews under the various book pages. The middle too are immaculate, the other two are more or less supporting material, at least relatively speaking.

The Square (an introductory dialogue)
Moderato Cantabile (unresolved tensions)
10:30 on a Summer Night (climax/explosion)
Jan 22, 2012 Lillian rated it really liked it
THE SQUARE- This novel follows a conversation between a man and a woman on a bench in a park. They talk about their lonely ways, and each seems to taunt the other, daring the other to break their patterns and habits. It could be seen as a symbol for the nature of romance. You want to be with one another to escape the loneliness, and yet a part of you still clutches on to that singular identity. It is a short meditative reflection on the psychological underpinnings of everything we say to one ano ...more
Megan Chance
Sep 19, 2012 Megan Chance rated it really liked it
Haunting, lovely, restrained, full of unresolved tensions. Duras is a master when it comes to writing emotional truths, and letting the reader make the discovery on his own. Each of these stories, in a different way, leaves one feeling uncomfortable and unappeased. Each of them I've been thinking about since I read them.
Eric Cartier
Jun 12, 2015 Eric Cartier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This entire collection was engrossing, but "Moderato Cantabile" and "10:30 on a Summer Night" are great short novels. They put me in mind of Virginia Woolf and Katherine Anne Porter's work, with a sort of psychological intensity wrapped up in elegant sentences and a sense of doom. I'm glad I picked up a copy of this Grove Press gem on a whim, and I'll certainly read more of Duras' work.
lucy by the sea
Nov 22, 2010 lucy by the sea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Read ten thirty on a summer night last night with all the windows open and summer smells drifting in. It is beautiful.
Laura Ellen
May 30, 2012 Laura Ellen rated it it was amazing
The most formative collection I've ever read.
May 31, 2013 Vishy rated it really liked it
After reading Annie Ernaux’ Simple Passion, I read somewhere that that book was similar to Marguerite Duras’ The Lover. So, I thought I should read The Lover sometime. Recently while thinking of new French novels to buy, I discovered that there was an omnibus edition which had four of Marguerite Duras’ novels in it – The Square, Moderato Cantabile, 10:30 on a Summer Night and The Afternoon of Mr.Andesmas. Four novels in one book – how can one resist it? One of my friends had also recommended Mod ...more
Jim Fonseca
Dec 30, 2016 Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it
Novellas really, all 4 only 250 pages. All of these stories are written in low key, understated prose, almost as if seen through a bit of fog. I’m reminded of Duras’ novel Emily L, which all takes place in bar where so much is unheard, misheard, partly misinterpreted, perhaps misunderstood and filled in with what is assumed or presumed.


In The Square, a young man and young woman converse in a park. She’s a governess, there with her charge; he’s a traveling salesman. We and they assume she’s timid
F Craig
Jan 17, 2017 F Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four short novels by another writer associated with the nouveau roman. Interesting and unsettling.
Jan 12, 2014 Amber rated it it was ok
I love Marguerite Duras' writing style, but these stories had some problems.

The Square is super boring. It is basically like a play - it is 2 people sitting on a park bench being boring and repeating themselves for a bunch of pages. The woman sounds crazy and the guy sounds fairly normal.

Moderato Cantabile is beautifully written. The relationship between the mother and child is clear and wonderful. However, there is a lot of "between the lines" stuff going on between the mom and her lover that
Oct 08, 2011 Bob rated it really liked it
Best known as the screenwriter of "Hiroshima Mon Amour", these novellas by Marguerite Duras all have a feeling about them of being a screenplay rather like that one. Characters talk endlessly in a slightly detached way, and pages go by of alternating lines without even a "he said" or "She said" appended so it is easy to lose track of who is actually speaking. All four stories capture a small number of characters, 2-4, in a limited time frame (anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks) ...more
Dec 21, 2008 Alan rated it liked it
Of the four novels, all were beautifully written. I lover her style. Two I thought were moderately interesting stories: The Square, and Moderat Cantabile. One was absolutely fabulous: 10:30 on a Summer Night. And one I didn't finish, a real sleeper: The afternoon of Mr. Andesmas.

10:30 on a Summer Night is the story of a woman who, in a single night, watches her husband's interest leave her for a younger woman. At the same time, the police are scouring the town for a man who has murded his wife
Laura  Yan
Aug 08, 2015 Laura Yan rated it really liked it
I'm realizing now that Duras is like the precursor to Elena Ferrate. The same intensity and sense of obsession, the same interest in a set of themes. Duras is interested in betrayal, in longing, in the spaces in between, in the allure of the unsaid, of the lack of fulfillment, in mystery. These are super moody and gripping stories. I love the visual details she uses. I think the intro described them as cinematic--which seems apt. Duras may also be the mater of sexual tension. Love.
Aug 20, 2012 Brandon rated it really liked it
Read on airplane a couple months ago, so hard to remember. First one pretty good, other three much better. Second and third seemed based on similar concepts. Each one gets engrossing pretty quickly once begun. Skipped the preface then came back to its write-ups on the stories after finishing each one.
Book Group is spending time in French post-war literature. Admittedly, I was skeptical about French lit, but was pleasantly surprised by The Square. While only a conversation lasting a couple of hours, Duras danced with words. 10:30 on a Summer Night was interesting but a little more what I was expecting - emotional, dark, lovers...French.
Mar 23, 2012 Kim rated it liked it
I'd give two of these stories 4 stars (Moderato Cantabile and 10:30 on a Summer Night) 3 starts to The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas and 2 stars to The Square - so overall 3 stars. These are not connected in any way so you can pick and choose which you'd like to read. Introduction is very good.
Dov Zeller
Apr 19, 2011 Dov Zeller rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-20th-cen
Beautiful and strang; deeply attuned to setting and the unreal and pressing passage of time, often cyclical and with small, shattering variations; disembodied and punctuated by raw, unflinching music and grief.
Absolutely breathtaking. 10:30 on a Summer Night is worth the price alone. The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas is one of those brilliant stories you will be thinking about long after you've finished reading. Moderato Cantabile is beautiful and, very simply, heartbreaking.
Feb 01, 2007 Xavier rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shortstories
I'm rating this based on the short story, 10:30 on a Summer Night. Duras makes excellent use of setting to describe the internal dynamics of the protagonist.
Sep 11, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing
"Moderato Cantabile" is one of the best short stories I've read. Just riveting. Her writing style is amazing.
Debra Blasi
Sep 08, 2007 Debra Blasi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas, in particular, was a brilliant experiment in the concept of space/time in literature. And written before theoretical physics became more mainstream.
Kate S
Nov 22, 2015 Kate S rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
My favorite story in this collection was The Square. Such a simple story and yet the conversation between two people who had never met and may never meet again rang true.
Jan 30, 2016 Adam added it
The Afternoon of Mr Andesmas was like reading shifting sand, with a shiny franc piece hidden and revealed thoughout. To shameless steal imagery from the novella.
Aug 01, 2015 Nove rated it liked it
The Square - 2 stars
Moderato Cantabile - 4 stars
10.30 on a Summer Night - 5 stars
The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas - 3 stars

Overall - 3.5 stars
Aug 26, 2013 Annie rated it really liked it
lots to unpack re: Duras' relationship with/attitude towards blonde women! can't decide between Moderato Cantabile or 10:30 On A Summer Night as the favorite.
rolonewton rated it really liked it
Feb 01, 2013
Cole Tucker
Cole Tucker rated it it was amazing
Oct 24, 2016
Beth rated it it was amazing
Apr 02, 2008
William Egger
William Egger rated it it was amazing
Jul 29, 2014
Rob rated it it was ok
May 17, 2014
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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...

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