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Moderato Cantabile (Minuit "Double") (French Edition) (French) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 1980

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Romancière, dramaturge, scénariste, réalisatrice de films et journaliste, Marguerite Duras est l’auteur d’une œuvre d’une grande diversité développée selon quelques thèmes essentiels (la solitude, l’amour, la séparation, l’attente…). Son roman Un barrage contre le Pacifique (1950) où elle évoquait son enfance en Indochine la fit connaître du grand public ; elle fut, par la suite, assimilée au « Nouveau Roman » dont elle devint, avec Moderato cantabile (1958) paru aux Éditions de Minuit, l’un des auteurs les plus remarqués. C’est cependant grâce au théâtre (Le Square, 1965 ; Des journées entières dans les arbres, 1968) et au cinéma (India Song, 1975) que sa notoriété s’amplifia. Le succès fulgurant de L’Amant (prix Goncourt en 1984) fit d’elle l’un des écrivains contemporains les plus lus et les plus traduits dans le monde. L’édition « vidéographique critique » de l’œuvre cinématographique de Marguerite Duras a été réalisée par Jérôme Beaujour et Jean Mascolo (Benoît Jacob Vidéo, 2001).

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Product Details

  • Series: Minuit "Double" (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Contemporary French Fiction; French edition (September 1, 1980)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2707303143
  • ISBN-13: 978-2707303141
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #234,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Eric Hewllet on February 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Considered a "musical novel" and better than Virgina Wolf's "The Waves" (though "The Waves" is quite incredible in its own right and should not be over looked). If you are not famillar with the genuis of a musical novel the idea is incredible. It brings upon an interesting form for exploring the duality of human experience. "Moderato Cantabile", follows the form of the first movement of a sonata, presenting and developing in two contrasting themes in different keys. "Moderato" the word it self indicating a measure of control taken with the time signaure of a sonata being a square four-four outlines the meter the book follows. Anne's (the main character) life in the first theme starts out structured and boring. In the second chapter she begins her strange affair with Chauvin. Chauvin, or the the second theme is Ann's quest for the "cantabile" (the lyrical impulse, or exit from the first theme of boredom). They meet again and again, at the same bar and always at the same time of day, unitl the eighth chapter. Then, just as the eighth note of a musical scale is the same as the first (but an octave higher) the final resolution comes in the form of a symbolic reenactment of the murder that occurs at the end of the first chapter: Chauvin: "I wish you were dead." Anne: "I already am." --And Anne returns permanently to her boring life.
Brillantly written and a must have in any book collection.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Clark B. Timmins on March 16, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novelette (~58 pages) is one of the most technically perfect pieces of fiction I have ever encountered. The "plot" is fairly conventional (but in many ways is inconsequential to the textual developments). The amount of detail hidden away in the narrative structure is incredible and the construction and crafting are about as perfect as could be desired. The story is interesting on so many levels that repetitive readings continue to illuminate and expand understanding.

Consider how Duras plays with objectivity in the first central theme of the novel. After the first reading you'll conclude that a man murdered a woman in a cafe--presumably by shooting her through the heart upon her own request. And yet a closer reading reveals the problems with this assumption: a scream is heard, but no gunshot; blood comes from the victim's mouth, but not her heart; nobody (notably including the primary characters) actually witnessed anything; the man's behavior is unindicative of definitive guilt--perhaps he's simply distraught; the woman was the man's wife (we are told as one of the only "omniscient" acts of the unknown narrator)--but later an acquaintance notes that the woman "was married". In short, even the objective "murder" presented is anything but objective.

Instead of reading a story you will end up inventing a plausible reality--just as Anne and Chauvin (the primary characters) invent a plausible reality to explain their unsatisfied (and unsatisfiable) desire.

Ever wonder why Anne ignores the closest end-of-work-day siren but pays attention to the farthest-away end-of-work-day siren? Remember that her husband manages a factory. Remember that her husband's factory is the furthest away from the cafe, on the opposite side of town of her house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Shamma on May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
At first, you may find yourself a tad confused when you start reading this book. I have to say the blurb does not do the book justice at all, so I started reading it with a completely different idea in mind only to be faced with a much more complex and profound read. As you go on, you will start to notice and understand the symbolism and depth and irony evident in the book, and appreciate the brilliance of its execution.

I did not know this when I read the book, but when I did a bit of research afterwards, I came to the understanding that this is considered a "musical novel". Now, I had no idea what that meant, but technically - and as one reviewer had explained - it is a technique that explores the duality of human experience. Therefore, the book starts out by following the form of the first movement of a sonata. The first movement moves in a specific count or meter, which the story follows, this one being "moderato" (in control) and following the four-four meter. As such, Duras begins by introducing us to the character, Anne, whose life is very structured and proper. Almost boring. As she takes her son to piano lessons every Friday, forcing him to learn how to play the instrument even though he has no interest. She soon meets Chauvin, in the same bar that a man had publicly murdered his lover, and their bizarre liaison begins. At meeting Chauvin, Anne is slowly leaving behind her boring existence and replacing it with a more scandalous life. She goes back to see this man every day, at the same time, and same place. Ending with a final note of climax, mimicking the end of a movement.

This book is heavy with symbolism and detail that one almost needs several readings for you to understand the story as a whole.
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By Helene on March 15, 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was in very bad shape
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