Thursday, February 5, 2009

the lover

originally published in france as l'amant by les editions de minuit. copyright 1984

this is one of my favorite books. it's short— at once rushing and quiet. it's repetitive and aching and indulgent and obsessive. but i think it deals with nostalgia and memory and the re-telling of an experience without apologies...duras does not ask her readers to forgive her for not adhering to the facts, instead she is desperate and desirous to manipulate her story, in moments flagrant and blatant, and at other times cagey, slinking. memory moves and contorts and mutates everything—duras knows this and allows for it, pushing her story further and further into some kind of no-man's land, outside of fact, outside of fiction. 

here's an excerpt:

the girl in the felt hat is in the muddy light of the river, alone on the deck of the ferry, leaning on the rails. the hat makes the whole scene pink. it's the only color. in the misty sun of the river, the sun of the hot season, the banks have faded away, the river seems to reach to the horizon. it flows quietly, without a sound, like the blood in the body. no wind but that in the water... all around the ferry is the river, it's brimful, its moving waters sweep through, never mixing with, the stagnant waters of the rice fields. the river has picked up all it's met... it carries everything along, straw huts, forests, burned-out fires, dead birds, dead dogs, drowned tigers and buffalos, drowned men...

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