December 8, 2023 | Rome, Italy

The Lover

By |2018-03-21T18:28:28+01:00November 3rd, 2006|Recent Reviews|

By Marguerite Duras, translated from the French by Barbara Bray

Pantheon Books, 1984 (1998). 128 pages.

D

uras’ erotic prose poem set in postwar Saigon sheds sparkle in translation. While the French is languorous and sticky, the English is hydraulic (e.g. “ I began to recognize the inexpressible softness of his skin, of his member, apart from himself.”) Still, this stricken love story is suffused with Latin longing: rebellious French teenager, son-of-a-millionaire Chinese lover, the Mekong of high Indochina. For Duras, adolescent love, suspended in time, is a thrilling atrocity — “How can innocence be disgraced?” — that deserves public confession. Parting is such sweet death.

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