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

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4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  301 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In this volume of four short novels, Duras demonstrates her remarkable ability to create an emotional intensity and unity by focusing on the intimate details of the relationships among only a few cental characters: from the park bench couple in "The Square" (1955) to the double love triangle in "10:30 on a Summer Night" (1960), each novel probes the depths and complexities...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Grove Press (first published 1965)
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Nate D
May 05, 2014 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars
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)
Th...more
Lillian
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
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.
Amber
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...more
lucy by the sea
Read ten thirty on a summer night last night with all the windows open and summer smells drifting in. It is beautiful.
Laura Ellen
The most formative collection I've ever read.
M.
Introduction is disposable; hardly relevant when so much more scholarship on Duras has occurred--also the shape her career ended up taking kind of crushes what's said, but this is all retrospective I suppose.

Commentary within individual titles:

Le square
Moderato cantabile
Dix Heures et demie du soir en été
The Afternoon of Mr Andesmas - 6/17/2014
The shortest book in this volume, taking place entirely in two parts on a single afternoon. Reality builds under the surface of a complacent sense of aging...more
Vishy
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
Alan
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...more
Bob
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
Heather
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.
Brandon
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.
Cari
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.
Kim
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
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.
Debra Blasi
Sep 08, 2007 Debra Blasi rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Annie
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.
Xavier
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.
Amy
"Moderato Cantabile" is one of the best short stories I've read. Just riveting. Her writing style is amazing.
Laura
I learned why we really travel, and why we are consumerists by nature.

thanks Marguerite!
Astraia
Hot, hot, hot. Each story is truly different but all great.
Jodi B.
10:30 on a summer night is pure prose gorgeousness
Alexandra
Rating based on the story "10:30 on a Summer Night."
Blaaaao
my probably first book from MD. very important.
Baybreeze
Moderato Cantabile deserves 5 stars.
Carol
Sep 16, 2009 Carol is currently reading it
So far, I'm absolutely entranced.
Patris
Patris marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Sitara Kashif
Sitara Kashif marked it as to-read
Aug 14, 2014
Kate
Kate marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 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
More about Marguerite Duras...
The Lover Hiroshima mon amour Moderato cantabile The Ravishing of Lol Stein The North China Lover

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