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The Ravishing of Lol Stein

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,952 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Lol Stein is a beautiful young woman, securely married, settled in a comfortable life--and a voyeur. Returning with her husband and children to the town where, years before, her fiance had abandoned her for another woman, she is drawn inexorably to recreate that long-past tragedy.
Paperback, 181 pages
Published March 12th 1986 by Pantheon (first published 1964)
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Best French Literature
119th out of 659 books — 1,215 voters
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Europe Minus Men and English
23rd out of 502 books — 103 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
Apr 22, 2015 mark monday rated it liked it
Recommended to mark by: RBRS (Assignment #2)
so there's this chick Lol Stein, a real blank broad, gets ditched by her cougar-lovin' fiance. bitch goes crazy, but the quiet kinda crazy, the kinda crazy you keep to yourself. girl gets married to some musician type. years later, she's a mother of three, living in her old town, and she gets wrapped up in her hottie best friend's life. the best friend is busy giving it up to this prick, a dapper don who works with her husband at the local hospital. Lol gets obsessed with the douchebag. some bor ...more
nope. i do not like marguerite duras.

janet flanner, in the new yorker claims that her writing has a "shine like crystal." and that's probably true, if one is observing that it is as pointy and depthless as crystal, as chill and remote, as something that refracts emptily. ooooh duras BURN!!

if this is a literary bodice ripper, i gotta say i prefer the crappy contemporary ones. this one isn't even intense with the taut tingling of repression, which also has its place and is something i can appreci
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 04, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
Reading this book is like sitting beside a sleepy tranquil lake on one lazy Sunday afternoon. You appreciate the serene surroundings, the chirping birds, the blowing gentle breeze, the scent of the trees mixed with the water. You then see a small boat docked by the lake side and decide to have do some rowing. Unknown to you, there is a lake “loch” monster silently stirring below the lake and at anytime will pop out the water and will eat you alive.

My first book by Marguerite Duras (1914-1996), a
Nate D
The displacement brought on by conjecture and uncertainty -- what does any other person truly think or feel? how can we know? -- moves this smoothly out of the actual and into the metaphysical. Beautifully, destroyingly. Duras' prose is a tension system of concepts in deadly suspension, but this one seems to occur at a pivot-point. Five years later, of Destroy, She Said, Duras would say something like "I'm so sick of plots, all the telling what happened, I can't stand it anymore" and proceed to ...more
Nov 07, 2008 Keleigh rated it liked it
Shelves: schooldaze
Duras’ writing is like taking a slow drug—something woozy and disorienting, a little foggy yet intensifying, slowing down time here, speeding it up there. Her style is fluid and incantatory; a hypnotic movement of memory and breath, a watercolor swirl of feelings on the surface of a lake that at first glance appears calm and neutral, but underneath something bubbles up, the premonition of a storm, and while reading I am waiting and waiting for that storm to break, for all the silt being churned ...more
Philippe Malzieu
I shall not have to read it at the same time as Proust. Her style appears in all its artificiality. A kind of clinical and cold manierism. The distance which the writing puts with regard to the character disembody them. They are reduced to the state of archétipaux skeletons. And the history is of an exceptional foolishness. Harlequin in the Nouveau Roman. To flee.
Apr 14, 2012 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
An intriguing read, difficult to review because the story doesn't really follow narrative rules about plot progression or character motivations. I think this is deliberate on the part of the author because the subject is so intimate, so passionate and mysterious. Duras doesn't explain and doesn't analyze the love life of Lola V Stein, who may or may not be crazy. I suspect she is normal, as normal as anyone can be who has been deeply wounded in the first enthusiasm of young love and has chosen t ...more
Tatiana Karl, Tatiana Karl, Tatiana Karl... Yes Marguerite, after the umpteenth iteration we know the character's full name by now...

I know charitable literary critics call this repetition of the various characters' full names an "incantation," but I call it a silly pretentious affect. I suppose it's part of Duras' strategy to convey the title character's obsession, which distills her ultimate happiness and sadness to a singular point in time where she has become emotionally and mentally growth
I can feel a Marguerite Duras fixation coming on.

While fairly impressed with her late novel L'amant de la Chine du nord , I wasn't completely drawn into Duras's milieu until David and I watched Hiroshima mon amour, the 1959 Alain Resnais film for which she wrote the screenplay. To put it bluntly, Hiroshima mon amour blew. me. away. The opening sequence reduced me to sobs, overlaying Emmanuelle Riva's and Eiji Okada's stark, dreamlike narration (a stylized argument, which at times seems almost t
Jan 06, 2015 Cari rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone. Absolutely anyone, it's that beautiful and haunting.
Recommended to Cari by: After reading "The Lover," I was desperate for more Duras.
This book has haunted me since I first read it three years ago. I remembered so well the feeling I had while reading this the first time, lethargic and removed from reality, as if a veil had fallen between myself and the rest of the world, the edges of everything having gone soft and blurry, and that same sensation came flooding back as I read a second time. Additionally, this second reading made me slightly restless, not from boredom but from a subtle anxiety emanating from the pages, growing m ...more
Rafael Montenegro-Fausto
e hoje já não há mais nada de Marguerite Duras no Brasil :/
"Il y a quelques jours un de mes amis qui revenait de Rio de Janeiro m’a dit : « Tu te rends compte,
Lol V. Stein, notre livre, si difficile, quand j’ai débarqué de l’avion, la première chose que j’ai vue dans
les vitrines des librairies de l’aéroport, en lettres lumineuses, c’est O Deslumbramento 5Ediçào. »" (DURAS, 1985, La vie matérielle)
''Que se serait-il passé ? Lol ne va pas loin dans l'inconnu sur lequel s'ouvre cet instant. Elle n
Dec 24, 2014 Proustitute rated it really liked it
Long piece on Duras being mulled over at present.
Nguyễn Hoàng Vũ
Có vẻ như đây là tác phẩm dễ chịu nhất của M. D mà tôi đã đọc. Nhưng mà, nói sao ta, vẫn cứ thấy thiếu thiếu gì đó để trở thành một tác phẩm lớn. Có vẻ như Le Monde hơi ưu ái M. D khi xếp "Nỗi đam mê của Lol. V. Stein" vào danh sách 100 cuốn sách hay nhất thế kỷ 20.
thím Tô
Jan 26, 2016 thím Tô rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-books
Tôi đã phải đợi gặp cuốn sách này ngót 15 năm sau lần xuất bản đầu tiên, đợi bản thân mình đi hết một quãng đường 7 năm đầy cô đơn sau lần đầu tiên đọc tác phẩm Người tình thì hôm nay tôi mới có cơ hội được thức “trọn vẹn” một đêm cùng "Nỗi đam mê của Lol.V.Stein" của Marguerite Duras. Thành thử tôi sẽ cố viết một bài review dài thật dài cho bõ công đợi chờ :)) Dù rằng, viết về cuốn sách này hay bất kỳ cuốn sách nào của nữ sĩ Duras cũng luôn là việc quá khó khăn với tôi.

Trong đời của một người đ
Jul 29, 2008 Patrick rated it liked it
Pretty good, I guess, but not quite as good as The Ravishing of ROTFLMAO Stein.
Shaherzad ahmadi
Sep 06, 2011 Shaherzad ahmadi rated it liked it
I feel bad giving this book a 3/5. The prose is lyrical and very experimental; I recognize this as an excellent book in style. However, in terms of the story itself... I wish I could say it matched her prose; and I wish I could say that her prose was fully developed so that the reader could at least follow her train of thought. Her style reminds me in some ways of James Joyce's, but unfortunately she is less skilled in relaying this type of disjointed stream of consciousness. I had to read parag ...more
May 05, 2011 Dawn rated it really liked it
In a word: hypnotic. Yet also, startling. This was recommended to me by a creative writing professor I had in college, after reading a short story I wrote involving a female protagonist who was similar to Lol. There are moments when, as one reviewer said, Marguerite Duras puts such a spell on the reader with the way she uses language, that the reader almost feels "drugged". It's a haunting, erotic novel of intersecting characters driven by loss, obsession and voyeurism. Lol is shattered by a tra ...more
Jun 06, 2012 Elise rated it it was ok
There were a few nice turns of phrase here and the potential for developing the existential theme of how choice defines our humanity. However, none of these promising glimmers were ever fleshed out or developed in an interesting way. Rather, they were held out like an offering, a hand containing a possible treasure, but that hand turned out in the end to be empty. This book, with all of its teasing and empty promises left me feeling cold and empty as well. Duras' stark writing style initially en ...more
May 07, 2011 Debra rated it it was ok
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die group read.

Reading this one for a group read. Why? I like torture? I don't know folks... yeah it's kinda dreamy and poetic, stream-of-consciousness writing... but it's boring. Does anything happen, I mean HAPPEN to these people? lol Ok... I'm going to finish it because I'm half-way through and it reads fast... but I'm yawning folks. Plus, I find I'm flipping back and forth trying to figure out who's saying what. Maybe something got lost in the translation,
May 15, 2010 Kelly rated it liked it
Sample paragraph: "Lol dreams of another time when the same thing that is going to happen would happen differently. In another way. A thousand times. Everywhere. Elsewhere. Among others, thousands of others who, like ourselves, dream of this time, necessarily. This dream contaminates me." The three-star rating is not for readability.
Jul 28, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faves
Tale of a woman who loses her sanity when rejected. Duras tends to eroticise consciousness. But, the distinction of madness is love.

"she had lived her early years as though she were waiting for something she might, but never did, become

La souffrance recommencerait quand? - omg, Lola, stop... you're such a boring, 'unseasoned' character. All the supporting characters as well. French neurosis at its best!
Feb 08, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
When I was in the Navy, the first time I took acid I was making my way from the quarterdeck to the berthing compartment when I passed the mess decks. There was a movie playing called Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, a drama that explores the difficulty of open relationships in 1969. In my addled state, it was a total mindfuck full of non`sequiturs. "I hate violence. I don't even have porch lights" being one that sticks out in my mind today. The Ravishing of Lol Stein is like that.

I have so many
Apr 15, 2011 Rosemary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I found this rather pretentious. The 'voice' reminded me of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which I really disliked. This was not so bad, and I can see how it was probably influential, being written in 1967. It kept me reading, I would have finished it even if I didn't have to for a book group, and it was an interesting story, so it gets 3 stars. But I didn't like the characters or the style of writing.

The translation that I read was titled 'The Rapture of Lol V. Stein' rather than the more c
Nov 17, 2013 Amir rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
خانم مارگاریت عزیز؛
دیشب کتاب شیدایی لل اشتاین تان را خواندم. با همه ی احترامی که برای رمان هاتان قایلم نمی توانم از این بگذرم که چندان چیزی از درونیات مردها نمی دانید. قبول دارم؛ ما مردها از شما پیچ و تاب کمتری داریم. اما دیگر نه آن قدر که سبک سرانه با شخصیت های مردتان برخورد کنید. نه این قدر که شخصیت مردتان توی روز روشن رفتارها و واکنش های بی ربط داشته باشد. کجای دنیا مرد از به هم خوردن آرایش صورت و موی زن این قدر دقیق حرف می زند. کجای دنیا مردها این قدر منفعل و بی خاصیت هستند که دوتاشان اصلا ن
Jul 16, 2016 Xandra rated it liked it
Young Lol Stein is jilted by her fiancé for an older woman and the whole book is formed around this idea of how an impactful event can change the course of a life and how the memory of a single moment can be carried around for years, eroding and enslaving the mind. The story is cleverly written and heavy on ambiguity and the eponymous character, made up of retellings, rumours and biased narratorial observations, remains distant and uncertain. On the line between sinister and heartbreaking, just ...more
Stephen AB
Apr 07, 2016 Stephen AB rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I've only read Emily L., and then seen Hiroshima Mon Amour, and I really liked both of those, so full of emotion and pathos. This novel is more akin to watching Last Year at Marienbad - and while I found that film and this novel intellectually intriguing, and I was drawn in by the first third of the book - well, I'm also left with a feeling of so what? I mean it certainly does leave an impression, which will probably last - - - and I'm sure 10 years ago, when I was more of the arty farty student ...more
Jul 28, 2015 Juniper rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, france
I'm disappointed. Not only by this book, but also by the fact that I seem unable to appreciate Marguerite Duras. No matter how hard I try, no matter how many times I read her books (I've read Moderato Cantabile 4 or 5 times), I don't understand half of what I read. And I can't appreciate what I read, the characters I meet or the situations that the author describes.
I feel hopeless and silly right now, and I hate feeling like that after reading a book. Especially a classic.
Marguerite Duras is talented as all hell, and her approach to literature-- intimate to the point of discomfort, hushed, and filled with muted sunlight-- should be an inspiration to us all.

I will say that this is the least appealing work of Ms. Duras' that I've read thusfar. It's not that it's a bad book-- it's gorgeously written, filled with memorable imagery straight out of a Truffaut film-- but it somehow left me colder than both Moderato Cantabile and The Lover.
Jun 25, 2015 metaphor rated it really liked it
Shelves: marguerite-duras
And all day long during the trip this situation remained unchanged, she was beside me and separated from me by a great distance, abyss and sister. Since I know—have I ever been so completely convinced of anything?—that I can never really know her, it is impossible for anyone to be closer to another human being than I am to her, closer to her than she is to herself, she who so constantly takes wing away from her living life. If there are others who come after me who know her as well, I will accep ...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,
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“That she had so completely recovered her sanity was a source of sadness to her. One should never be cured of one's passion.” 154 likes
“She had lived her early years as though she were waiting for something she might, but never did, become.” 109 likes
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