Imagine telling that you lost your virginity to a Chinese man when you were fifteen years old and you agressively did those sexual positions and uttered those unprintable words. I remember French friends telling me, with eyebrows raised, that between them is un vrai amour , even though he is a homosexual. I said it was good to hold her. I fucked them because I could. For me, that is true, except in one sense that I have tried to overlook for fifty years. When Paris is liberated, the narrator's personal life goes through a period of upheaval. They all came to me, because they wanted something that my father had.
James, Marguerite Duras has written a sparse, minimal and painfully sad erotic love story that never gets drawn into the realms of romantic fantasy. He is obsessed with her, with her nubile body, but knows his father will never let him keep her. Or my years in London and New York. The consuming infatuation and brutal shifts of power between the lovers echo many issues of modern colonialism. Jennifer Wicke, an associate professor of comparative literature at New York University, told me that while the English may write about a languid conversation in front of a fire, the French are entirely different.
A puzzle of personal pronouns draws an anonymous canvas that perspires with alienation and the dense humidity of a foreign land, that mourns the loss of youth and innocence, that invokes the image of photographs never taken, the sound of words never uttered and the mirage of a future that never existed. Stein, and her film India Song. I am worn out with desire. An elegant, wealthy Chinese man, 12 years her senior, is watching her on the ferry bus that crosses the Mekong River. The fact that they are shown having sex makes them real persons, with real bodies not some film characters.
And you know where she's going? My little brother wasn't altogether normal, and that's why my older brother persecuted him. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. She seemed to paint a picture in these parts. Though translated from the original French, you will experience an almost immediate halt, like you are reading something in a different language. Lost love is a frequent theme and the sadness and nostalgia for magical past moments surfaces frequently, especially in such plays as La Musica and Suzanna Andler.
And then afterwards I had a Chinese lover. Not in any form of stunning realization, but more of an acknowledgement of changing sensibilities, that a mere year ago I would have been hard pressed to give this book more than three stars. It is all about balance. We never met in a house or a cafe. It's a French novel, beautifully written, and set in early 20th century French Colonial Indochina, primarily Vietnam.
Some of the techniques listed in The Lover may require a sound knowledge of Hypnosis, users are advised to either leave those sections or must have a basic understanding of the subject before practicing them. So much packed in to each small paragraph-long section, the resonance of each detail, the mystery of it. During the Fifties Duras's work began to have a special appeal to women, whose maternal and protective instincts, disappointments in love, erotic desires and fantasies, often only dimly understood but depicted by her in a new, poetic and oblique way, she was poignantly able to express. She cuts her hair off. The Lover was first published in 1984 and was a major critical and commercial success: it won France's prestigious Prix Goncourt, and has sold almost three million copies and been translated into over 40 languages.
A comparison could be made with Margaret Thatcher, but not in political ideology. She came to meet me at the station. Duras' other well-known novels include The Sea Wall, Moderato Cantabile and The Ravishing of Lol Stein. There are times when the resentment in this young girl reaches a fever pitch and thrashes about restlessly for an outlet into the realm of reality. The affair scandalizes society but is pursued with reckless abandon for about eighteen months. But it must have affected me subliminally.
I've never had a reading experience quite like this. An autobiographical story about an affair between a young French girl and a Chinese man, set near Saigon, The Lover wavers between repression and indulgence. I went to see the young man. Duras, Marguerite Marguerite Duras, 1990. And yet the audience feels despair, longing, sensuality, the presence of death, colonialism, the impossibility of human communication -- a welter of specific impulses that elude verbal definition. With the help of her children, she built a bungalow and planted rice.