Overview

Dedicated to Duras’ companion with whom she spent her last decade of life, Yann Andréa Steiner is a haunting dance between two parallel stories of love and solitude: the love between Duras and the young Yann Andréa and a seaside romance observed – or imagined – by the narrator between a camp counselor and an orphaned camper, a Holocaust survivor who witnessed his sister’s murder at the hands of a German soldier. Memory blurs into desire as the summer of 1980 flows into 1944. An enigmatic elegy of history, ...
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Yann Andrea Steiner

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Overview

Dedicated to Duras’ companion with whom she spent her last decade of life, Yann Andréa Steiner is a haunting dance between two parallel stories of love and solitude: the love between Duras and the young Yann Andréa and a seaside romance observed – or imagined – by the narrator between a camp counselor and an orphaned camper, a Holocaust survivor who witnessed his sister’s murder at the hands of a German soldier. Memory blurs into desire as the summer of 1980 flows into 1944. An enigmatic elegy of history, creation, and raw emotion.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this lyrical memoir, French novelist Duras sketchily describes her affair with Yann Andrea Steiner, a man 30 years her junior, who helped her overcome alcoholism and depression. To further explore the bounds of unconventional or illicit love, Duras interweaves a semi-mythic tale about Johanna, an 18-year-old camp counselor who loves a six-year-old orphan named Samuel Steiner. Joanna tells Samuel that in 10 years they will reunite at midnight on a beach and make love. Samuel, we learn, is a Holocaust survivor who saw his sister murdered by a German soldier. There is yet another story-within-a-story: Johanna's fanciful allegory of cruelty and compassion involving a boy named David, a shark who wears a baseball cap and a weeping Fountain which dances a Guatemalan polka. The disparate parts of this mannered, self-indulgent exercise do not cohere into a whole. (Oct.)
Library Journal
It is the summer of 1980, the summer that brought solidarity to Gdansk, Poland. A young man fleeing his own demons arrives at a Normandy seaside resort to meet ``a woman old already and crazy with writing.'' She is famous and alone; he is a knowing child. Their love story forms the core of this mesmerizing narrative in which the injustice of world events sinks into a larger pool of evil that haunts both him and her: the Nazis' murder of Jews in World World II. Duras's tribute to the young lover, Steiner, glides seamlessly (translated by the intrepid Bray) into an all-embracing Durasian allegory of desire and the sea. The writer has daily observed a child camper and his teenaged counselor on the beach; as the writer and her lover grow closer, they are transformed in the narrative into this young couple knocking against the mysteries that engulf them. Duras remains perplexing, frank, and marvelous; this work will speak to avid readers of her work.-- Amy Boaz, ``Library Journal''
From the Publisher
Once again Mark Polizzotti has produced a masterly rendering of a modern French classic. —Harry Mathews

Marguerite Duras’s voice, whenever we hear it, always goes straight for our hearts. —Le Monde Diplomatique

This Duras is deeply Duras. Her sentences grow alarmed if they grow longer than a line, yet there seems nothing to be alarmed about since they are apparently as empty as a road at sunrise. Then suddenly you arrive at your destination: a forest of feeling. You think, I have been here before, yet I recognize nothing. Whose trees are these? That is because only Duras’ entire oeuvre could have composed this text. The translation is lovely. —William H. Gass

Duras manages to combine the seemingly irreconcilable perspectives of confession and objectivity, of lyrical poetry and nouveau roman. The sentences lodge themselves slowly in the reader’s mind until they detonate with all the force of fused feeling and thought... New York Times Book Review, on The Lover

Marguerite Duras conjures images, memories, and sensations out of the air and into a series of freely associated essays. One can sense the pleasure this 20th-century literary giant felt in setting off onto this ethereal odyssey...Mark Polizzotti’s translation is a joy in itself. Boston Magazine, on Writing

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935744221
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 109
  • Sales rank: 430,891
  • File size: 151 KB

Meet the Author

Marguerite Duras was born in 1914 in Giadinh, Vietnam to French parents, both teachers. She went to live in Paris at eighteen and studied mathematics, law, and political science at the Sorbonne. In 1935, she became a civil servant in the Ministry for Colonial Affairs. During WWII, she was active in the Resistance and in 1945 she joined the Communist Party. She wrote the screenplay for Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour (1959). In 1984, her internationally bestselling novel The Lover won the Prix Goncourt. In addition to making a dozen films, Duras wrote more than 45 novels and plays over the course of her life.

Mark Polizzotti has translated the work of Jean Echenoz, Gustave Flaubert, André Breton, Christian Oster, in addition to Duras’ novel Writing in 1998 (Lumen Editions). He is the author of Revolution of the Mind: The Life of André Breton (FSG) and is director of publications at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited will be released this fall with Continuum.
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Read an Excerpt

Before anything else, at the beginning of the story told here, there was a screening of India Song at an art cinema in the city where you lived. After the film there was a panel discussion in which you participated. Then after the panel we went to a bar with some young graduate students, one of whom was you. It was you who reminded me later, much later, about that bar, a fairly elegant, attractive place, and about the two whiskeys I had that evening. I had no recollection of those whiskeys, nor of you, nor of the other young grad students, nor of the bar. I recalled, or so I thought, that you had walked me to the park- ing lot where I’d left my car. I still had that Renault 16, which I loved and still drove fast back then, even after the health prob- lems related to alcohol. You asked me if I had lovers. I said, Not anymore, which was true. You asked how fast I drove at night. I said ninety, like everyone else with an R16. That it was wonderful.
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