The Lover (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

The Lover (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)

by Marguerite Duras


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780007205004
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Publication date: 05/19/2016
Series: Harper Perennial Modern Classics Series
Edition description: New
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 1,337,876
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Marguerite Duras was one of Europe’s most distinguished writers. The author of many novels and screenplays, she is perhaps best known outside France for her filmscript Hiroshima Mon Amour and her Prix Goncourt-winning novel THE LOVER, also filmed. Her other books include LA DOLEUR, BLUE EYES BLACK HAIR, SUMMER RAIN and THE NORTH CHINA LOVER. Born in Indochina in 1914, Marguerite Duras died in 1996.

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Lover 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie first, which moved me. Perhaps because I did see it on screen first, I had no problem knowing the outcome. If you take the words as they flow and just let yourself be drawn along, the outcome is beautiful and painful.
dupontemmamay More than 1 year ago
“He says he’s lonely, horribly lonely because of this love he feels for her. She says she’s lonely too. She doesn’t say why.” Duras writes a cool and emotionless account of a fifteen year old girl taking a wealthy Asian man as her lover. He becomes both her savior and her downfall. It is a lavish and beautiful tale, slow like the opium the older lover consumes. 
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because it took you to another country in the past. The fedora hat, like another character, gave the story something special.
crafterjtf More than 1 year ago
I did not like this one could not get into it at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although the writing is beautiful, for the first time I enjoyed the movie version better than the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didnt like this at all. It skipped around so much and for me it was really confusing. It took me a long time to finish it just because I barely had any interest in it and it was real hard to comprehend.
Cecrow on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marguerite Duras' style hasn't sat well with me in the past (I couldn't fathom "Hiroshima Mon Amour"), but it's eerily effective here at transmitting the pain of memories too delicate to examine closely, too powerful to be ignored. It's a short work but not easily penetrated; my way was greatly eased for having seen the movie adaptation.French-occupied southeast Asia, pre-WWII: a young French girl enters a liaison with a wealthy Chinese man. I thought I knew this story, but the novel goes considerably more in-depth with the girl's family. As semi-autobiography, it felt like the author was recalling scattered images in hopes of piecing together a whole picture that explained how she survived such a chaotic life. Some memories seem almost incidental, e.g. running from the madwoman - unless taken symbolically. She flees the madwoman at age eight as she would flee the threat of descending into madness herself almost ten years later. Her own mother is mentally unwell, there is little about her family that is normal, and she has nothing to cling to and no one to rely on. Her lover offers some respite, though he is hardly a refuge. She revels in their shared moments together, but perceives his weakness and feels no protection. The movie led me to believe this was a story primarily about mistaking love's identity, not recognizing it until too late. The novel is something more complex, portraying the basking in another's proffered love as grasping at a tenuous lifeline, a means of survival.
koconnell614 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Marguerite Duras¿ novel was extremely hard to follow due to its structure throughout the entire novel. Along with the structure being very difficult and picturesque it was also a weird story due to its close to pedophiliac sex scenes. The way the story is set up makes the novel hard to follow because its lack of a linear story line. It jumps around from different periods in time and describes the same scene in different ways in different parts of the story. This structure in a novel is hailed by some critics and it is very useful for describing memory sequences and trying to describe how the mind works. The mind is never linear and jumps all over the place but even still this type of writing is confusing and doesn¿t work well in this novel. Also throughout the novel, Duras changes from 1st person to the 3rd person during certain aspects of the novel. These parts occur during the sexual encounters between the main character who is 15 years old and a 27 year old Chinese man. It changed from the 1st person to the 3rd person due its graphicness in the memory of the author. This change allows her to look back at the experience and realize what she did from another standpoint. It¿s like looking back on an awkward moment in high school and laughing about it when your older and Duras uses the switch from 1st person to 3rd. These switches are useful in some ways yet overall it made the novel extremely hard to follow and overall the novel was boring.The other aspect that made this novel disturbing was the sex scenes and the premise behind this novel. The main character which remains nameless throughout the novel is 15 years old during the novel. Her lover is a 27 year old Chinese businessman. Even though the sex was consensual and there wasn¿t any rape or sexual crimes committed, it was a little too weird to read about. The novel is the memory of the author and her life growing up and how she did really love the Chinese man. Even still this is extremely pedophiliac of the Chinese man and shouldn¿t be going on in society. Sex as a 15 year old even with two people of the same age should still be frowned upon due to the youth of the kids. The media portrays sex so much that kids are being desensitized by it and believe it is a normal occurrence for kids in the 9th grade. Shows like MTV¿s Skins or Gossip Girl and 90210 which are targeted for the pre-teen to young teens present sex in such a nonchalant way that it seems normal for kids to be having sex when they are 15 years old. All being said the girl seems to be making love with the person she loves but this person is 12 years older than she is. This type of novel brings in taboos about sex and yet it wasn¿t interesting rather it was creepy and weird. In conclusion, Duras¿ novel is very difficult read due to its poor writing style and creepy sex scenes. If one looks at the novel knowing what they¿re about to get into then it is completely understandable to love this novel. However, it basically puts the reader to sleep by confusing them throughout the novel and it¿s hard to follow along with the story line due to the switching back and forth and random descriptions about people who show up for only a few moments. It tries to tie the reader into the mind of the author by using this different structure yet it also pulls the reader away from the novel completely due to its lack of a linear storyline. All in all it was a very tough novel to get through and would not recommend it to others.
joshberg on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I didn't love The Lover, but as a fan of all things Vietnamese I'm glad I read this semi-autobiographical story of Duras growing up in French Indochina. The loose, episodic narrative--about a teenage girl, her unstable family, and her older Chinese lover--requires some comfort with ambiguity as well as patience to put the pieces of the plot together. The narrator somehow manages to be emotionally overwrought and indifferent at the same time; an American reader is likely to find her exceptionally French. But to Duras' credit, The Lover is knowingly brief and often poetic; it feels something like an experimental but successful prose poem.
fieldnotes on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The tone of this book is emotionally flatlined. Terror, physical ecstasy, hatred and depression all file past in the same abstracted, languorous fashion: mentioned, but not really written. We know that the early part of this narrator's life was characterized by withdrawal and passive observation and that she has taken to drinking in her middle age (we also know this is a French novella from the end of the 20th century); but these facts don't entirely justify the loosely structured and vaguely experienced narrative.The few times that the prose seemed to snap into greater focus, were around cherished objects (a fedora, some shoes) or images; but these are static things and however much meaning they are forced to carry, they cannot be as lively as multi-dimensional characters. And "The Lover" is not full of multi-dimensional characters. It has, at most, two. The narrator is somewhat nuanced, the mother is bipolar and everyone else is essentially a drive towards something and a flaw (desire and weakness; power and selfishness; tranquility and terror). I tire of the stereotypical wastrel brother, of the speechless cowering brother and also of the precious and spineless lover himself.But, I did enjoy this book. It came close to being quite good. I just wish that it flexed more or grappled harder or pulled itself together; though, again, I understand that the narrative style could be interpreted as the logical outcome of the storyteller's upbringing. However, and lastly, I can't really abide by the two or three intrusive semi-portraits of society ladies in France; these seemed poorly integrated and diverting--even the appearance of Hellene in the novella seemed under-managed. If she had not existed as a mute alternative and object of desire, she might have been a more interesting collection of words.Finally, if the girl's age were given as 18 or older, I doubt the book would have been so successful.
Mromano on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this novel during a class entitled "experimental fiction". It is a wonderfully written short novel. The poetry of the prose is sparse. The word "minimalist" is used a lot when speaking of Duras. I find her work refreshing in the same manner of Pinter or Hemingway. The story itself is semi-autobiographical and concerns a relationship between a young French girl and a Chinese Businessman. Well worth the time.
singh116 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
"Women are no more than objects" has been a notion widespread throughout societies and time. Such civilizations acclaim progress and identity in the strength of men and the fragility of women. Marguerite Duras¿ novel The Lover roots from a world imbued in such societal standards. Duras steps into the internal and external plight of a young women going against the social grain through her utilization of the hero¿s journey in an uncanny, non-linear memoir-structure. Through this technique interweaving prime individuation aspects of the hero¿s journey ¿ quintessentially through the stages of separation, initiation and return ¿ alongside a structure becoming clearer with the novel¿s progression, Duras essentially reverses the roles in society and enables the reader to peer into a girl¿s pursuit of identity and womanhood.Separation constitutes the initial phase of this journey, taking fruition essentially from the girl¿s deprived childhood and sudden call to adulthood viewed through the hectic, ever-changing frames of the beginning of the novel. The girl culminates from a depraved social viewpoint brought by social exclusion and from a confused personal outlook of life brought by familial exclusion. As the novel begins, the girl jumps back and forth through time between social standards and familial standards. Duras¿ use of divided French-China Vietnam essentially gives the foundations for the girl¿s social exclusion and despair. The girl lives a life of segregation and boundaries set up by society. From the very beginning as she boards the ¿native¿ bus, she sits ¿in the section reserved for white folks¿ (9). She stands as an outcast of society literally due to her race, initially thinking that acclimation with the world is forbidden. These social limitations restrain the protagonist, preventing her from exploring the world on her own, and are augmented by the familial restraints. Her relationship with her mother and family are defining of the character¿s change through the novel. Like society, the detached mother traps the girl but through the structure of secondary education and a mathematics degree. The girl takes part in these futile attempts at her mother¿s happiness, being crushed and changed by a mother living in ¿deep despondency¿ and focus of her brothers. Thus, through the mother¿s dress and the pink fedora, the girl stands with an ¿ambiguity of image¿ as she crosses the threshold of the Mekong River, past which lay a freedom and road of her own trials.Crossing over from this other life, the girl begins her experimentation with life and discovery of herself in Saigon essentially through her sexual and intimate interactions with the man from Cholon, embodying the goddess in the hero¿s journey. The weak man represents this rich, idealized life for the girl, over whom and which she has control. Duras¿ reversal of role in this time brings the protagonist to a new level of power and understanding. As the girl lies in bed in his studio, she dictates the sex, as she ¿draws him to her and starts to undress him¿ (38). In telling him to do with her as he does with other women, she places him into an inferior, weaker position ¿ later leading him to cry ¿ and takes control over her standing in both society and her personal life. She further uses this goddess in taking her to Chinese restaurants and treating her family to dinners, all the while being accepting and appeased with the fact that the relationship will never go to marriage, due to the weak man¿s, like civilization¿s women¿s, stresses by his father and society. As their relationship continues over the course of a year and a half, the girl continues to gain power, eventually accepting her mother¿s position with her brothers¿ deaths and gaining closure with her mother¿s acceptance of this uncanny, empowering behavior (79,97). Even the quintessential marker of her mother¿s and society¿s rule, the boarding school, becomes ¿a hotel¿ which she controls and through which she comes
RVonbengfort on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Keeping an open mind to literature, movies or any other medium has always been my approach to putting myself in a story. I went into this novel having high expectations, not extremely high, just averagely high. However for most of the novel I had no idea what was going on. I was at a total loss throughout the whole thing. As soon as Marcuerite Duras wrote about this girl¿s run-in with a wealthy Chinese man, who was considerably older then her I had somewhat of an idea to where the novel was going. To my dull surprise I learned what had already happened in I think the next couple of paragraphs. It¿s like the story began and finished within maybe the first twenty pages or less and then in continued on. I felt like the book was telling me, ¿Hey you know the story already and now I¿m going to give you some random facts about this girl¿s life, whether you like it or not.¿ Needless to say, like it I did not!Considering the page count, which is very small to begin with, I honestly believe this could¿ve been a short story. I was not a fan of the out of order stream of conscious writing. Although I do like reading novels that happen within the character¿s head, I just need continuity! I can accept flashbacks since flashbacks further the story. However this book did not contain flashbacks. I don¿t even know what it contained. The honest feeling I got while reading the novel was me, stuck in this little, big or whatever girl¿s head. The girl had to sneeze and I was blown out of her nose but at the last minute she plugged her nostrils. Then I was hurled back inside her brain, somebody turned on the flush and was spun out of control. I had to push myself to be free of this woman.Well with that out of the way I guess the next thing to address is the sexuality. What I mostly do not understand is where all the sex is in this book? Not that I care to see it. Although again, I came into the book thinking, ¿oh great so basically I¿m reading a porno.¿ Well it wasn¿t, and there might have been lines in the book where she wrote, ¿and he caressed me and we made love¿. That is all I could remember from this shambled book. Actually there was one scene where she talked about her lover washing her after they first had sex and she was a virgin. Although I¿m not sure why that was necessary in the book. It served no purpose at all. She had already stated before that it hurt when the first did it so we really did not need that particular scene. It just furthers my frustration with the book.I would much rather read Philip K. Dick¿s ¿Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep¿ again then have to read this shamble of a book. After I read Androids I sat back in my chair or bed or wherever I was and thought about it for a while. I absolutely did not do that with ¿The Lover¿. In fact I¿m almost positive I threw it down on the ground and never touched it again. Actually, I¿m positive I did this because right before I wrote this review, I picked it up from underneath my bed along with some of my dirty clothes.In conclusion I am not a fan of ¿The Lover¿ although I won¿t hold it against you if you do happen to like it. It is just not my thing. If you love romances and weird out of order writing, then go ahead and jump into this story and read it, reflect on it, review it and etc. Just promise me one thing. Do not talk to me about it.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This novella is absolutely beautifully written. The prose is akin to poetry. This is a story of sexual awakening, of family and culture, set in Viet Nam during French colonization. Magnificent!
justine on LibraryThing 8 months ago
brilliant, spare language, but sad
jwhenderson on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Set against the backdrop of French colonial Vietnam, The Lover reveals the intimacies and intricacies of a clandestine romance between a young girl from a financially strapped French family and an older, wealthy Chinese man. In 1929, a 15 year old nameless girl is traveling by ferry across the Mekong Delta, returning from a holiday at her family home to her boarding school in Saigon. She meets the son of a Chinese businessman and becomes his lover. Reading it, you feel you are looking at a dark-hued portrait of lovers embracing surrounded by a mysterious and impenetrable jungle of blackness. It is a ravishingly beautiful work of art that has a dream-like quality.
wendyrey on LibraryThing 9 months ago
Short and clever story about a young, French woman of fifteen living in French Indo-China (now Viet-nam I think) in difficult family circumstances. She has a passionate relationship with a Chinese man which cannot end happily (she is underage for a start and both cultures would be horrified at their relationship).Entertaining
jbushnell on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A story of a young girl in French Indochina, her Chinese lover, and her family, The Lover collapses barriers and distinctions until love, cruelty, pleasure, and madness all seem like different names for the same emotional concentrate. Sounds melodramatic¿but in fact, Duras undertakes this project with eerie, almost morbid detachment. I'd say it's more terrifying than erotic, but I'm no longer sure that there's a meaningful difference between the two.
tigermel on LibraryThing 11 months ago
A little book, barely 100 pages, packed with so much emotion and imagery i don't even know how to describe it. It is intense, in a way i haven't read in a while. Technically it is a story of a very poor French teenager, in Vietnam in the 1920's, who takes as her lover a wealthy Chinese man. Character-wise, he doesn't seem much more than a boy himself, though he is in his late 20's. But we get so much more information about the girl's life than we do about her affair. We hear about her mother, essentially a crazy woman, about both her brothers and their lives and deaths. The girl, who never gives her name, is weirdly detached from everyone but seems to be able to understand people deeply. The descriptions are lush and exotic. It seems to be a novel full of yearning and need. I am going to put it aside for a month or so and then read it again to see how i feel about it then.
Karlus on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This beautifully-written slender volume is neither conventional fictional novel nor usual factual autobiography. Rather, it is an intensely artistic narration by the author based on a number of isolated but significant periods and people from her life. The mode of telling is closest to stream-of-consciousness, as individually recollected scenes are frequently presented out of normal sequence in isolated and unconnected vignettes.Overall it is the story of a nameless French woman, arguably Duras herself who, as a 15-year-old teenager from a poor and dysfunctional French family, deliberately attracts the attention of a young man, scion of a wealthy Chinese family, in French Indo-China in the 1930s. Her original purpose might have been family support through child prostitution, but it develops that the man's wealth is not yet available to him and a torrid and illegal love affair develops instead. Or are they only "in lust," instead of "in love?" The reader will have to try to decide the question based only on the passionate events described; their individual feelings, passions and thoughts are artfully kept from the reader in the author's quirky manner of narrating only the exteriors of visible scenes.After a while the scene shifts as she leaves for school in Paris and spends the remainder of her life there. The unnnamed lover is left behind and a number of women from Duras' own life during WW II float onto center stage, again with narrative purpose difficult to discern.The story is difficult to follow, but close reading can reassemble the pieces in proper order. Nevertheless, this reader was left with the feeling that this was very much a story of self-revelation, told by a narrator who was reluctant to be revealed -- especially with respect to her inner feelings. If this oxymoronic nature of the story does not put you off, or you are up to reading literary puzzles posed by a famous author, then by all means accept the challenge of this book and enjoy pages and pages of beautiful narrative description of life and love in a past time and a historical place along the Mekong River.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I walk in, looking around for the one who had posted to go here, from 'liam' res 1.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love clasics and I hope, stranger, that somday you will read this book and many others
Anonymous More than 1 year ago