O Amante
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O Amante

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  14,121 ratings  ·  880 reviews
Na Indochina, em 1929, uma jovem francesa de quinze anos estranhamento ataviada atravessa numa barcaça o rio Mékong. Durante a travessia conhece um homem chinês, filho de um magnata local. Ambos se dirigem para Saigão, onde rapidamente se entregarão um ao outro. Será no enquadramento desta relação que a jovem revelará a estranheza das suas relações familiares, os seus prob...more
Paperback, 179 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Biblioteca Sábado (first published 1984)
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karen
i found myself utterly muted by this book, which is problematic because the book club meets this friday, and they aren't going to be so dazzled by my bruschetta that i can get away with just hiding behind the tiny jewess and drinking their wine. so i have to think of something.

consulting the "reading group handbook" by rachel w. jacobsohn, bought for my final school assignment, i learn how to think about literature:

characters and story line: young french girl, older chinese man falling into bed...more
Ian [Paganus de] Graye
Desire

The first time ever I saw your face was on the ferry.

I had my head buried in a copy of the South China Morning Post. My father had said, if I read it every day, I would learn about the world around us, and his boy would become a man. Only then would I be ready to take over the family business after him.

He was right, in his way. I was thin and soft and naïve, even though I had just returned from two years in Paris. I was still a boy, at 28. I’m sure I would have continued as a boy, unless I...more
Aubrey
The light fell from the sky in cataracts of pure transparency, in torrents of silence and immobility. The air was blue, you could hold it in your hand. Blue. The sky was the continual throbbing of the brilliance of the light. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Their sound was that of the dogs, the country dogs baying at mystery. They answered one another from
...more
Praj
Dearest Marguerite,

I know it is awfully late now, to write to you. I could not resist though. I thought about you the other day; as her eyes scanned the Chinese gentleman for the first time, on the ferry to Mekong. The demure young features veiled under a mannish hat, gave away precocious impression of a 15 year old girl as he offered her a cigarette. The statuesque Chinaman who exuded charm and eloquence was besotted by her as she was by him. He was to be her lover; an escape from the abhorrent...more
Samadrita
Something dark and deeply unsettling simmers angrily beneath the surface of this narrative. This 'something' becomes so potent a force, arousing fear and feelings of disgust in the reader, that one is often tempted to abandon reading and save oneself from all the unpleasantness Duras shoves right in the reader's face without inhibitions.

'The Lover' is a brutally honest attempt at reconciliation with the past, irrespective of how much hurt and damage it may have caused. It is a tale of Marguerite...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 13, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: french, sex
Probably the most famous among the many brilliant works of Marguerite Duras (1914-1996), The Lover (French: L’Amant) is based on her actual experience while living in Vietnam during her teen years. Published in 1984, this autobiographical novel has been translated to 43 languages, awarded the 1984 Prix Goncourt and was turned into a movie in 1992 starring Jane March as the 15-1/2-y/o French girl Duras and Tony Leung as 17-y/o Chinese Man.
thelover
Yes, the novel (as well as the movie where the scene abo...more
Mary
The book is like being trapped inside a deep and disturbing dream on a stifling hot summer night. A dream steeped in melancholy and half memories and you wake up choking. Is it Duras' writing style or the translation that creates the sparse atmosphere, the jumping around from present to memory to thoughts to...I'm not sure exactly what. But it worked so beautifully, so tragically.

Early in the book Duras writes about her mother in a way that did something to me. I found myself tearing up, my hear...more
Loederkoningin
It appears as though Duras has entrusted her memories to paper in an involuntary attempt to come clean: in essence this is a fascinating story. I realize what an intriguing experience this must have been for her. As a reader however, I felt like being provided with mere glimpses of a rich and interesting biography. Duras' memories you must color with your own imagination. You need to speculate, in order to fill in the gaps, the details the authors sparse prose does not offer.

If anything, this w...more
Manny
L'Amant looks simple on the surface. Marguerite Duras, about 70 when she wrote it, tells you about her first affair, with a rich Chinese man. She was a fifteen year old girl in colonial-era Vietnam, he was a dozen years older. Her family was desperately poor. Her mentally ill mother tacitly condoned the relationship; Marguerite's lover was generous, and they needed the money. Then she screamed at her daughter and beat her. The language is plain, unadorned and impersonal, stripped to its bare ess...more
Janet
I loved the strangeness of this woman's interior, her voice, the way such a slim volume can sum up an entire life, compelling and erotic and intellectual all at once.
******************
rereading... it's like craving a certain great dish and you know just who has it on the menu.

Such assurance. I like the way Duras handles the point of view. It begins with an older voice, a woman looking back at her life, a particular moment of her life, and she uses the past tense, where when she is in the past,...more
Stela
Followed by an English version

J’ai lu quelque part que Julia Kristeva avertissait les lecteurs d’un équilibre mental fragile de ne pas lire les œuvres de Marguerite Duras, parce qu’elles pourraient les amener près de l’expérience de la folie. Et que « L’amant », de ce point de vue, ne serait que l’histoire de la folie gothique de la mère de la narratrice, à laquelle cette dernière essaie de s’échapper en effaçant son image.
L’hypothèse est séduisante, mais elle ne couvre qu’une partie de ce mini...more
Ron Palmer
Apr 15, 2008 Ron Palmer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ron by: Leah Probst
I finally finished Marguerite Duras' "The Lover." Why did it take me this long to read a 117-page novel? (I posted it on my currently-reading shelf on Feb. 25th). [HINT: It is not because I didn't want it to end.]

Was it the nature of the writing: random, unconnected musings by une femme d'un certain age of her colonial adolescence? Was it the frustrating way she shifted subjects, time, and place at will? Maybe it is the movie-lover in me (I don't want to reveal too much about myself (foreignfilm...more
El
I do not find anything particularly attractive about 15-year-old girls having relationships with men almost double their age. I'm not going to sit here and get all judgmental though as this is neither the time nor place for that discussion.

I do, however, find attractive Duras's prose in this autobiographical short novel. The fact that she wrote such a beautiful story about such a personally disturbing topic actually blows my mind a little. It's like when I read Lolita. Again: disturbing story, b...more
Evan
I could see myself re-reading this. There was a sigh in my throat and hardness in the loins, simultaneously. High yearning quotient. Prose as poetry. Smooth. Written in simple language, yet dense in feeling. Duras reveals bits in back and forth chronology, sort of the way real people remember their lives, but not the way they normally would try to convey it to others - thus a sense of getting into the teller's thoughts. I loved this.
-E
MJ Nicholls
If you like lyrical romantic prose in staccato sentences, written in the literariest of all literary styles, this is the novella for you. If you don’t, this isn’t the novella for you. Me, I’ve read this story a million times before. Goodnight March.
Lightsey
So I have a problem with fiction. A problem with voices, really--I don't like a lot of them. The result is that I tend to read the same novels over and over. Well, honestly, I tend to read Jane Austen novels over and over. But this has me going. A brilliantly perverse description of a young girl's outfit (just before her first seduction) opens the novella, and. . . well. . . take it from there. . . so far, delicious.

I finished this and turned it over and read the first few pages again. One of th...more
Misha
I think I blew through this slender book a little too quickly. I should have taken more time to savor each paragraph of Duras' sparsely beautiful prose. I feel a re-read coming in the future.

I love the way Duras chose to eschew the traditional linear narrative and instead let the story wind across the pages and circle back upon itself, flowing a bit like the way she describes the Mekong and picking up everything in its path. In some ways the pacing of it evoked the languorous speed of life in th...more
Arwen56
Bellissimo racconto autobiografico della Duras. Intenso e doloroso. Un irrisolto conflitto famigliare, che lascerà dietro di sé pesanti strascichi. Un interrogarsi condotto con estrema lucidità, andando avanti e indietro nel tempo. Una difficile storia d’amore, e anche di sesso, narrata senza falsi pudori, ma con estrema delicatezza.
E anche il piacere del film che ne è stato tratto, diretto da Jean-Jacques Annaud. Coinvolgente, sensuale e struggente.

Un’accoppiata da non perdersi per nessun motiv...more
Theresa
Oct 24, 2007 Theresa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Only my closest friends
This is my favorite book ever. I first came across the story when I was 13; baby-sitting one weekend at a neighbor's house. But I didn't actually read the book until I was 21 and it changed my life.

Marguerite Duras's prose is so powerful that I have full paragraphs memorized. Each sentence is pure poetry. Not everyone will get it, but it hit me like a ligthening bolt. I felt like someone reached inside & took a look at my soul & then wrote my innermost secrets down. I love Marguerite Du...more
Katherine
Sep 12, 2008 Katherine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katherine by: Maria Calandra
Shelves: in-translation
I learned that if you read 'The Lover' on the subway, men will look at you extra. Good to know.

Update: Having finished the book, what I admire most about it is Duras' combination of verge-of-lurid subject matter with an utterly deadpan tone of voice. The latter makes the former possible, and the combination creates an impression of a very complicated character, a bad-ass woman who probably carries more pain and other difficult feelings than we'll ever know. The tone here is like 'a tell-all that...more
Nate D
A spectral movement, back and forth, through the sharp distinct particulars of memory, gleaming or troubled or both. Family and other. Sex as means of taking agency in ones life perhaps. Things that haunt, things that are lost.
Jenna
I first heard of this book decades ago, but initially resisted reading it.

As a youngster, I was indignant that the world's best-known novel about Vietnam was written not by a Vietnamese person, but by a French person. I was indignant that the love affair it describes is between a French woman and a Chinese man, rather than between two Vietnamese people. Picture me at the age of eleven or twelve: a sensitive bookish Vietnamese-American girl, eagerly looking forward to reading this world-famous ro...more
Kelly
This was way better than watching the movie, though I have to say it does take some of the pleasure out of the reading when I spend most of my time deconstructing grammar mechanically. Though that made the most beautiful phrases all that more impactful- due to my surprise that I could even recognize their beauty even after I finally understood the sentence. I look forward to returning to this when my French is as effortless as her prose.
Célia Loureiro
(Demorei dois dias a reunir 'material' para fazer esta review)Raramente me acontece estar perante uma situação/livro/discurso que não suscite nada em mim. Isto é, que não me indigne, nem fascine, nem horrorize, nem apaixone. Este livro, infelizmente, foi assim. Reconheço que está maravilhosamente escrito e que as reviravoltas textuais da cabeça da narradora, a própria rapariga branca, nos levam por labirintos existentes em nós próprios. Mas importar-me com ela? Não me importei. Nem com ela nem c...more
Mohammed
This story of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover is much more than it seems. For a short novel it was dense in feeling and it emotionally was almost too much by the end. The author/narrator has such strong,clear voice you had no choice but listen, try to understand her words,emotions. I was impressed by how Duras went back and forward in the chronology of the years, memories. It was a realistic way of remembering memories. You got closer to teller's tough...more
Ben
I loved The Lover. Stylistically, thematically, and philosophically it is the kind of book I long to write. One problem - I'd have to be French to pull off some it's stances (postures?) Regardless, I feel like this is the sister book to Camus' The Stranger. It is well worth watching Hiroshima Mon Amour after reading for like the total Duras overload. I walked around able to read and speak French fluently for an entire afternoon afterward.
Ben Loory
fragmented, drab, and full of unpleasant people. had a nice part about a hat though.
Roxane
This is what they mean when they say, "lush prose."
Janet
Every once in a while you read something that clues you into the gradations of suffering. Sure, we’ve all suffered and some of us have even suffered plenty but our sufferings pale as compared to those of Marguerite Duras in her thinly veiled memoir, The Lover. This book came highly recommended by someone I wanted desperately to impress so I soldiered on though I was pretty much lost by the second paragraph of the introduction.

Imagine Lolita then subtract Nabokov’s sensitivity and sly, wry humor...more
Remittance Girl
It is extremely difficult for me to give this book an adequate review because, as a writer of erotic fiction, its interiority and opentextedness, its subtle and powerful eroticism (not of the love affair, but of the entire atmosphere of the novel) were formative for me as a writer.

There is a spare and adamantine beauty to the prose that is both immersive and yet, somehow, leaves enough space for the reader to breathe inside the text.

It is worth mentioning that the book is not erotic in the way...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What other love stories that are this well-written? 7 59 Jan 13, 2014 12:38PM  
صالون الجمعة: Livre du mois de novembre: L'amant 2 48 Nov 12, 2013 09:48AM  
The Lover, by Marguerite Duras 4 60 Mar 28, 2013 10:23PM  
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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...
Hiroshima mon amour Moderato cantabile The Ravishing of Lol Stein The North China Lover The Malady of Death

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“Very early in my life it was too late.” 267 likes
“Suddenly, all at once, she knows, knows that he doesn't understand her, that he never will, that he lacks the power to understand such perverseness. And that he can never move fast enough to catch her.” 113 likes
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