Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Lover

The Lover  Marguerite Duras
Weight: 5.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Leaving in a Decatur Book Lending Box

I did not realize I was picking up a pedophiliac love story when I grabbed this.  That is not what I was going for, but once I started reading I realized that I had known it all along.  I just did not realize it was this book made into that movie until I was already several pages into it.  The writing was haunting and desolate.  I thought the wording was beautiful and so I kept reading, despite having wanted to pick up something with an entirely different feel.

I am suprised that it is so often refered to as an erotic masterpiece or that people so frequently refer to it as a love affair between an older man and a young girl.  I guess because it is written in the time of pre-war Indochina, the relationship is allowed to be more normalized, even in modern times? 

The main character focuses a lot of her attention on her hatred for the eldest brother and her evolving disgust with her mother.  She also talks about her beloved, though distant younger brother.  It is not all about the relationship/sex (more accurately described as rape) she had with a man 12 years her senior.  There is a wonderful moment where she talks about the lust she feels for a girlfriend at her boarding school.  Duras writes:
                 I am worn out with desire for Helene Lagonelle.
                       I am worn out with desire.
                       I want to take Helene Lagonelle with me to where every evening, my eyes shut, I have
                       imparted me the pleasure that makes you cry out.  I'd like to give Helen Lagonelle
                       to the man who does that to me, so he may in turn do that to her.  I want it to happen
                       in my presence, I want her to do it as I wish, I want her to give herself where I give
                       myself.  It's via Helene Lagonelle's body, through it, that the ultimate pleasure would
                       pass from him to me.
                          A pleasure unto death (74).

This book is short, just over 100 pages, well written and devestating in so many ways.  Duras does an excellent job, and you can read it in a single sitting.


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