Emily's Reviews > The Lover

The Lover by Marguerite Duras
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Mar 10, 12


While many critics found The Lover by Marguerite Duras difficult to read due to its formating, I found it to be an insightful look into a woman's psyche. The Lover would jump through different memories and moments in Duras life and change from names to pronouns, and while this seemed to confuse many others, I think that it allowed the reader a greater look into how Duras reacted to different situations and how she felt about them by seeing how each thought led to another.

As a woman myself, I know how one's mind can easily jump onto different subjects provoked by other ideas or memories. This happens to Duras throughout the novel, producing her unique layout. The reader can see what pains her character, makes her happy and what led up to a certain event by seeing where each new thought leads her. This provides a very sincere and natural recount of Duras past and how she felt during all of it. One of the most interesting uses of this format can be seen in the middle of the novel where Duras gives a short biography of two women she had known and heard of. Duras talks about the women's appearances, their personalities, and their lives. At first glance, there does not seem to be any connection betwen the two women and Duras, but by inserting these mini biographies carefully into the text, readers can relate these women's actions back to what Duras was thinking and how they were significant in Duras' life.

What also confuses many readers is how Duras will suddenly refer to people in her stories only through pronouns, such as "she," "him," "they," etc. While reading through these parts of the novel, many readers begin to get confused as to who Duras is referring to. However, if read carefully, one can see that Duras is really referring to herself through all of these moments as "she." It is officially proven to be so on the last page of the novel where she is on the phone with her Chinese lover, and she identifies herself as "she" and the lover as "he," proving that she had been talking about herself all along. The reason as to why she does this can be seen as a way of coping with certain memories. This novel presents Duras at her most vulnerable than any of her other novels.

I do not think that this piece of literature was intended to be a feminist novel as much as give insight into a young girl's adolescent life and what women go through at that age mentally and emotionally. While Duras had a particularly unique experience, she addresses the feelings of her first encounter with a man she desired, how she learned to understand this desire while seeing how her female friends evokes desire in others. She also offers her experience on how she interacted with a family she only felt obligated to love, and how she let go when she lost the only brother she really cared for. The themes of love and desire in the eyes of a young girl introduce a unique perspective that differs from many other forms of writing, which give a new insight into the mind of a girl becoming a woman.

Although it may seem overwhelming at first, I highly suggest reading this book in one sitting. By doing that, I feel like I was really able to get into the writing and understand Duras' train of thought and how she was led from one thought to another. I think this was a beautifully written book and highly recommend it to those who are willing to take on the challenge.
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