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Wartime Writings: 1943-1949

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3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  101 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A “fierce and lyrical writer of conscience” (Booklist), Marguerite Duras kept hidden in a closet in her country home in France four small notebooks filled with writings from the war years. Published here in their entirety for the first time, these remarkable wartime writings include slices of autobiography and feature the first versions of Duras’ most famous works, the tru ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by The New Press (first published 2006)
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Fionnuala
Memory as inspiration
Like many writers, Marguerite Duras seems to have drawn a lot of her inspiration from her own life, and in particular from the events of her childhood and adolescence in Saigon in the 1920s. 'Cahiers de la guerre' presents the contents of some notebooks that she kept during the war years in which she recorded her memories of Vietnam, (which she fictionalised later in 'Un Barrage contre le Pacifique') and her notes/ideas for future novels. These notes are hard to read, her st
...more
Alicia
Dec 19, 2008 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one that I would only recommend for a select few readers. I was fascinated by it but since it is comprised of her notebooks found after her death, this is not a polished complete work. Still, the stories have stuck with me and it is something I will want to revisit and explore again.
Alan
Aug 04, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She never fails. I could read her grocery lists and feel purified. I don't mind saying that she is a genius, or that I wish Americans would read her (more). Or that she would be Ernest Hemingway were this country not a Francophobic auction house. Or that when, at last, the world learns to brook a woman with a human spine, she will be called what she is: one of the three dozen best writers of her century.

I do not know why it is so common that a certain kind of autobiographical writer, the kind wh
...more
Melissa Kane
I mistakenly thought this was MD's wartime DIARIES and so I was rather disappointed to realise, once I'd started reading, that it wasn't.

The book contains the contents of three notebooks filled with bits and pieces of writing from the period 1943-1949 and includes some autobiographical pieces and some sections that were later incorporated into novels. As I haven't read any of MD's novels I skipped through the fiction pieces and just read the autobiographical stuff. This comprised a few short pi
...more
Terry
Apr 13, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is definitely only for hard-core Duras fans, and perhaps people who enjoy seeing behind the scenes, so to speak, of a writer's process. It did remind me quite a bit of Plath's unabridged journals, where you can see her sort of circling the same scenes or people or turns of phrase until she hits on what she wants to say, how she wants it to read. The parts about waiting to hear about her [Duras, not Plath!:] deported husband, and his recovery, are so unrelentingly honest and brutal--amazing ...more
Ruby
Nov 07, 2010 Ruby rated it really liked it
A rare glimpse inside the writing process, I would recommend this for readers and writers already familiar with Duras's work. By that I mean you need to have read more than just The Lover. If the craft of writing does not interest you, then you'll be happier sticking to her novels.

Reading from these notebooks gives the feeling of going through an attic of another person's papers. You wonder if you really should. I kept reminding myself that Duras herself wrote without much regard for her own pe
...more
Tien
Ah... another book I picked up to fit a reading challenge task (FYI, I do this a LOT). I'm not actually familiar with Marguerite Duras or any of her works though I know of her reputation as a writer, of course. This book took extracts from her diaries that were found in the cupboard after her death. Her diaries had more of short drafts of her stories though there were some personal anecdotes. In fact, the first chapter was of her childhood in Indochina and it was rather sad and painful to read! ...more
Margaret Heller
This is an edited and translated edition of 4 notebooks that Marguerite Duras wrote in during the war, or slightly afterwards. Some of it is studies for or drafts of novels published later, some of it memoir that was never published as such later, but adapted into novels. And some of it was never published--just the bits and pieces that one sometimes writes in a notebook when you need to write something down. As such, this is probably only actually interesting the whole way through for scholars ...more
Dale Pobega
There is one piece of writing in this collection worth reading - "Did Not Die Deported" - and what an impressive piece of writing it is. Duras' description of nursing her husband, Robert Antelme, back to health after his return from a concentration camp, is very moving. Apparently the piece iwas included in "La Douleur" which is hard to find in English. The other writings in this collection - early drafts, alternative plot lines, etc. of novels - are pretty tedious. Duras' writing about her husb ...more
Valerie
Aug 11, 2011 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman
Livre magnifique qui n'est pas un journal intime comme j'aurais pu le croire, mais des brouillons ou bien des premières versions de livres à venir. Entre le barrage contre le pacifique et l'amant combien de version de cet homme qui fut son premier et comment était-il vraiment? le mystère devient entier. j'ai été particulièrement touchée par tous les récits qui apparement constituent ce que sera la Douleur. Très très beau livre, plusieurs fois j'ai failli rater mes stations dans le metro!!
Melonie
Apr 26, 2010 Melonie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a rough read for me, and one that I wont read again soon. I probably should have listened to some reviews I'd previously read and become a little more familiar with her other works first, but I didn't and am left to feel the regret. Nevertheless, I can see why she is considered such a great author and will someday read more of her works and probably like them.
Timothy Dymond
One for the true fans I think. The best parts of these notebooks are the early autobiographic writings that clearly form the backdrop to stories such as 'The Lover'. There is also an interesting short story called 'The Bible' near the end. However there are lots of drafts of later stories that will mean more to people who have a more comprehensive knowledge of Duras than I.
Audrey
Nov 29, 2012 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting notebook and first drafts of stories and books later published. There is no real cohesion as it was written really for the authors private use and published after her death.
Jena
Jun 11, 2009 Jena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little uneven, but Duras' narrative reflections (fictional and autobiographical) on the war bring the horror of occupied France to life like no stylized Hollow-wood production ever could.
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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
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