El's Reviews > The Lover

The Lover by Marguerite Duras
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's review
Oct 07, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books-list, 20th-centurylit-late
Read from October 07 to 08, 2010

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, beautifully written.

The nameless protagonist in The Lover is a 15-year-old French girl living in Saigon. Her family situation is not surprisingly cold - her mother is a bit manic-depressive, her relationships with her older and younger brother leave a lot to be desired. She essentially realizes she's alone in the world. She catches the eye of a Chinese businessman almost 15 years older than she, a relationship forms, some sex is had, some drama ensues.

What makes the story such a joy to read is the manner in which it is written. Little spurts of thought almost, as if Duras wrote each memory on Post-It notes and cafe napkins and then put them all together each night before bed. Still there's a fluidity here that makes the reading a bit mesmerizing. The prose makes the reader feel simultaneously close to the story and far, far removed from it, which is a skill that I bow before in awe. Duras was in her seventies when she wrote this book about her experiences as a young woman, yet the story is written in such a fresh manner that it's hard to imagine she hadn't written it only a few years after the story took place.

This was my first experience with Marguerite Duras, but it certainly will not be the last. I'm hooked. She hooked me. She's awesome.
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Reading Progress

10/07/2010 page 45
10/07/2010 page 74
51.0% "I am digging this." 2 comments
02/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Marieke (new)

Marieke I wish I wrote your review. I read this years ago but what you said is how I felt when I read it. I don't think you'll be disappointed in her novels. Now I want to reread them.

message 2: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Wow, thanks! What a nice compliment! I'm looking forward to checking out more of her books. If they're all written so well I think I'm in for a treat. Duras is one of those authors I'm excited to be experiencing for the first time.

message 3: by Marieke (new)

Marieke I read a lot of her stuff at the end of high school and loved it. I always wondered if I would still like her books all these years later and I'm guessing i would/will!

message 4: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy You're such an enabler, El. Added this to my to-read thanks to your awesome review. I read Lolita earlier this year and really loved the way it was written despite the disturbing parts of the story, so it sounds like I'd enjoy this as well.

message 5: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Thanks, Cindy! I hope you enjoy this one too when you read it!

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