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The Lover

(The Lover #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  37,574 ratings  ·  2,769 reviews
Set against the backdrop of French colonial Vietnam, The Lover reveals the intimacies and intricacies of a clandestine romance between a pubescent girl from a financially strapped French family and an older, wealthy Chinese-Vietnamese man. (from Wikipedia)
Paperback, 117 pages
Published September 8th 1998 by Pantheon Books (first published September 1st 1984)
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Josephine Briggs The book is so sensual, the beauty of all around her, even though she is poor, she loves the beauty of the land. The sparse way of telling her story, …moreThe book is so sensual, the beauty of all around her, even though she is poor, she loves the beauty of the land. The sparse way of telling her story, not overwordy. Her telling of her life, her family, her lover.(less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  37,574 ratings  ·  2,769 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it

“The story of my life doesn’t exist. Does not exist. There’s never any centre to it. No path, no line. There are great spaces where you pretend there used to be someone, but it’s not true, there was no one.”

 photo Marguerite_Duras_zpse0gigo7l.jpg
The young Marguerite Duras

She has pretty hair, copper hair that spools down her back in waves of alluring movement. People always comment on how beautiful her hair is which she interprets to mean that they don’t find her pretty.

She cuts her hair off.

I opened the first page of Marguerite DurasThe Lover, and there she was, the girl with no name with all her ancient reminiscences. I heard her voice as if it were inside my head, Very early in my life it was too late. It was already too late when I was eighteen. How did you get there, my friend? Or should I call you my sister, since from the beginning I discovered we shared anguishes and most certainly a great multitude of passions and dreams?

We both were introduced to this world by tortured
Samra Yusuf
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
And the time comes, when we’ve to make peace with our past, to let go of moments we cherished dearly, or of those which brought torment endless, the love we lived or the one we denied emphatically, the people we admired foolishly and the ones we’d to abandon, things fall apart and what is left are the crumbled spikes we call memories. And time comes, when those fragmented pieces of the past are to be jotted down, the unspoken tale to be spoken after all, to let out the stories inside us, not to ...more
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The ones who love and the ones who don't
Shelves: read-in-2015
Who is “L’amant”(*)? The characters in this story are nameless. A puzzle of personal pronouns draws an anonymous canvas that perspires with alienation and the dense humidity of a foreign land, that mourns the loss of youth and innocence, that invokes the image of photographs never taken, the sound of words never uttered and the mirage of a future that never existed. Only the condensed ardour that clouds up the windows of a small hotel room, where two slippery bodies abandon themselves to contort ...more
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(252 From 1001 Books) - L'Amant‬ = The Lover (The Lover #1), Marguerite Duras

The Lover is an autobiographical novel by Marguerite Duras, published in 1984.

It has been translated to 43 languages and was awarded the 1984 Prix Goncourt.

It was adapted to film in 1992 as The Lover.

Set against the backdrop of French colonial Vietnam, The Lover reveals the intimacies and intricacies of a clandestine romance between a pubescent girl from a financially strapped French family and an older, wealthy Chin
Steven Godin
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A world away from the intelligence insulting and glorified trash of E. L. James, Marguerite Duras has written a sparse, minimal and painfully sad erotic love story that never gets drawn into the realms of romantic fantasy.
And to deeply appreciate 'The Lover', it needs to be looked at from the perspective of Duras herself. Pen was put to paper when she was 70, it's predominantly all about looking back on memories past, and I say it's a painful read, painful in respects to nostalgia, as nostalgia
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recs, 2015
My full review, as well as my other thoughts on reading, can be found on my blog.

An autobiographical story about an affair between a young French girl and a Chinese man, set near Saigon, The Lover wavers between repression and indulgence. The tone is detached, the description spare, the narrative fragmented; in spite of the the cool aloofness of Duras's prose, though, the novel is incredibly sensual. Each image glints and radiates a warmth much at odds with the narrator's emotional reticence. Th
Very early in my life it was too late.
Death came before the end of his story. When he was still alive it had already happened.

The first, very striking quote, is on the opening page. Like the second quote, it teases about horrors not yet explained - that may never be.

Marguerite Duras wrote this autobiographical novella over a few months around her 70th birthday. The narrative is dreamy and disjointed. Her family is damaged and disjointed. She slips between first and third persons, tenses,
Ian "Marvin" Graye

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
Apr 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: md
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
This is a thin novella, but do not expect an easy read. Though translated from the original French, you will experience an almost immediate halt, like you are reading something in a different language. And you are. It is the language of dreams. It is also the language of recollection. It does not flow in a typical fashion: it dips you in a moment then pulls you out just as you are getting used to the temperature of the water. It plunges you into another time and place, emoting a feeling out of c ...more
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
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
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Vessey by: Jeffrey
Shelves: 4-stars, erotica, romance
Desire. Is it pleasure or pain? Can and should we try to control it? To trust it? To understand it? Do we shape our desires or do they shape us? What part of us is desire? Is it the purest and deepest aspect of human nature? Where does it come from? Can a desire on its own be vile or virtuous or only actions are bound to be judged? How much do we know about our desires and where do they lead us? What brings two people together? What brings together a French girl and Chinese man twelve years olde ...more
Now I know why several friends have mentioned that this book has special meaning for them. I've never had a reading experience quite like this. A woman writing from her older years about her teenage experiences in Viet Nam with her Chinese lover, but also with her family. And also of her experience of Viet Nam itself--the natural world, the skies and trees and people, and customs both strange and familiar.

The book is an experiential wonder, slipping between past and present, the concrete observ
When I picked this book up I was drawn to the haunting picture of the girl on the cover, which turns out to be Marguerite Duras, the author. After reading I'm thinking, I can't believe this book is not more prominent in the mainstream of modern literature. It's a French novel, beautifully written, and set in early 20th century French Colonial Indochina, primarily Vietnam. It's the story of a 15 year old French girl and her affair with an older man, a wealthy Chinese. The girl is an outcast in he ...more
Somewhere between 4 and 5 stars.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked this up. Sepia tinted nostalgia. Eroticism. Regrets. Sadness. I knew that it was a vaguely fictionized version of an episode of Duras’ adolescence, when she fell in love and began a sexual relation with an older Chinese businessman when she lived in French Indochina. I knew that it explored her fractured relationship with her mother and her nameless lover’s tensions with his own father. I had heard that it captured t
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 fr
Sep 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novella must ALWAYS make a deep impact. Hell, the writer did not think that more was necessary so whatever is there MUST be genius. "The Lover" is heartfelt, autobiographical, strange. The titular Chinese man is not even the focus: it is the brother & how his selfishness dooms the entire family. "L'amant" is about two people coming together in lust/love for only a moment... in solice or absolution. I like "adult" books but this one has the voice of a single victim in a long, sad tradition of " ...more
Linda Wells
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Marguerite Duras has written the remarkable story of her childhood love affair with a wealthy older man, who happened to be Chinese. Their tumultuous love affair took place in pre-war Saigon in 1929. The book is written with exquisite language expressing perfectly the powerful emotions of the innocent girl as she experiences first love with an exotic and loving older man.

The young French girl faces disgrace on many levels. She is no longer respected because of the illicit affair; the fact that
Mar 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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, whereas when she is in the past
Ben Loory
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
fragmented, drab, and full of unpleasant people. had a nice part about a hat though.
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, france, fiction
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
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: sex, french
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.
Yes, the novel (as well as the movie where the scene
Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
A little book about an intense, illicit affair between a 15 yr old poor white girl and a wealthy 27 year old Chinese man.
Duras writes a very atmospheric novella here..
I liked it
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is what they mean when they say, "lush prose." ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Behind the image of the white girl, behind the black limousine and its owner, an older Chinese man, is the mentally ill mother, the not-there but always-there presence.

Behind the jumping around of the narrative voice from first- to third-person, over and over again, sometimes in the same paragraph, is the trauma.

Behind the fragmented telling, the circling around events, and the recurrence of several scenes is the attempt at reconciliation. Attempt only—some things cannot be reconciled.

Behind the
Anna Luce
The Lover strikes me as little more than an exercise in literary masturbation. This novella is overwrought, self-indulgent, and ultimately insubstantial.
Fooled by the promise of its first pages, I soon found myself irked by the narrator's linguistic burps. With the exception of two or three characters, everyone else is nameless. Alienation is de rigueur.
The narrator revisits her past, engaging herself in a sort of mental seesaw, where she jumps from thought to thought, from image to image. Her
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.
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Marguerite Duras was born Marguerite Donnadieu on 4 April 1914, in Gia Định, Cochinchina, French Indochina (now Vietnam). Her parents, Marie (née Legrand, 1877-1956) and Henri Donnadieu (1872-1921), were teachers from France who likely had met at Gia Định High School. They had both had previous marriages. Marguerite had two older siblings: Pierre, the eldest, and Paul.

Duras's father fell ill and h

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