The Lover (Flamingo) Paperback – 5 Dec 1994
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‘Rarely have I read a novel so flawlessly written.’ Spectator
‘Very beautiful, highly intelligent, enjoyable and original.’ Sunday Times
‘Perfect, a 'tour de force'…accessible in the way Thomas Mann’s 'Death in Venice' or D.M. Thomas’s 'The White Hotel' are accessible…dealing successfully with the strong themes of erotic love and death.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A spectacular success.’ Edmund White--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
'Saigon, 1930s': a poor young French girl meets the elegant son of a wealthy Chinese family. Soon they are lovers, locked into a private world of passion and intensity that defies all the conventions of their society.
A sensational international bestseller, and winner of Frances’ coveted Prix Goncourt, 'The Lover' is disturbing, erotic, masterly. Here is an unforgettable portrayal of the incandescent relationship between the lovers, and of the hate that slowly tears the girl’s family apart.
'The Lover' has been made into a major film, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Jane March and Tony Leung. An alternative version of the events described in the novel is given in Marguerite Duras’s 'The North China Lover', also published by Flamingo.
“Rarely have I read a novel so flawlessly written”
“Very beautiful, highly intelligent, enjoyable and original”
“Perfect, a 'tour de force' … accessible in the way Thomas Mann’s 'Death in Venice' or D.M. Thomas’s 'The White Hotel' are accessible … dealing successfully with the strong themes of erotic love and death.”
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
Top customer reviews
The Lover was awarded the French Goncourt prize in 1984. The strength of the novel is in the underlying despair of the narrator's triangulated memories. The narrative voice the reader hears is of an older woman reflecting on her past. Duras, when writing the novel, drew upon certain aspects from her childhood in Saigon. She was also an experimental writer with an alcohol problem. Her writing style is pared to the bone.
In 1992 the film version of The Lover, was very successful. The eroticism in the film appears to have become a popular misconception in relation to the book. This particular publication has a reader introduction to Duras, her writing style, her early life in French Indochina. I highly recommend the film available on DVD.
On a ferry across the Mekong river, the teenage narrator is invited by a 27-years old Chinese millionaire and is driven to her boarding school in his large, black, chauffeur-driven car. What follows reveals Duras' powers of description, which served her well as a movie director in later life. The white 15½-year old, skinny, weirdly-dressed girl and the Chinese man begin an affair. He is obsessed with her but his father has long ago arranged his marriage. She does not love him, but enjoys the near-death climaxes of their encounters and has vague hopes all this will open a window of opportunity: she has willfully chosen a fate the ruling whites in the colony disapprove of. In school, it isolates her more than ever before. Her aim? Who knows? Fleeing mother and the devilish brother, the heat, the hopeless poverty and life's chaos to some quiet, secure place to write about her ordeal, then about other, new experiences?
Marguérite Duras (1914-96) was a novelist, scriptwriter, playwright and film director. The version in front of you became a successful movie in 1992, despite a conflict between Duras and its makers: shortly before its première she published "The North China Lover", another version of her formative years...
Grand, small novel filled with deep anger and hatred. Duras was so troubled, speechless in disgust about her youth, that it took her several efforts to put it all on paper. To be read more than once.
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