About the book
By one of the world’s most acclaimed writers and the author of The Lover
One of France’s leading literary figures, Marguerite Duras casts a brooding, elegant spell over her readers with her acute portrayals of love, its aphrodisiacal power and its sweet, inevitable pain. This novella is haunting, erotic, and tragic, with the distinctive evocation of passion that is Duras’ own.
Marguerite Duras (1914-1996) was a novelist, essayist, playwright, and filmmaker, and a leading figure in postwar French arts and culture. She was born and came of age in French Indochina in what is now Saigon, and at 17 went to her parents’ native France to study at the Sorbonne. Before long she became a fixture in the French Communist Party and active in the French Resistance; she remained committed to left-wing causes throughout her life. Duras’ career in the arts spanned nearly five decades, but was beset by troubles that plagued her from childhood: her father’s early death, the family’s impoverishment, domestic strife, and later in life, her notorious alcoholism. Her work, though often bleak and unsettling, is also characterized by delicacy, restraint, and a marked interest in human sexuality. The latter occasioned a sometime-sensationalism in the popular press, and never more so than with her 1984 Prix Goncourt-winning novel The Lover. Duras also courted controversy for her treatment of the aftermath of the nuclear bombs in the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for “Hiroshima mon amour” (1959). Such phenomena, however, stood in contrast to the work itself, which was hardly prurient: as her career developed, Duras’ style became increasingly abstract and experimental, celebrated as much for its mastery of dialogue as for what was left unsaid.