Lovers

Exhibit 1.7.17

Marguerite Duras’s The Lover

 

 

I sure am reading some small, sad books. This one, however, is less the story of some grand, tragic romance than it is the careful consideration of one’s first, flawed affair which, even more than 50 years later, still stings with the specifics of its circumstances and its failure. Duras’s dreamy, nimble prose makes the absence of nostalgia here clear, and she doesn’t shy away from the truth of how she, a 15-year-old girl with a 27-year-old Chinese lover, entered into this affair for money and protection or how, though the collapse of it seemed to devastate her lover, the affair played a different role in her life.

Still, Duras wants to show how she was, in her way, no less in love with him despite her youth and the necessity of the affair to her making it out of a collapsing family. Love here is a complicated thing rising both easily and permanently, as with her toward her younger brother, as with her lover toward her, and also developing gently through the tortured growth of a life. He loves her blindly and completely regardless of age, race, or custom, but Duras, who stopped being a girl in his arms, it’s only after she’s left him, when she is a woman, that she seems to understand what it’s meant to her and to love him back long after it matters.

We’re united in a fundamental shame at having to live.

Comment / Posted in 2013, Fiction, Lovers