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The Lover [Kindle Edition]

Marguerite Duras
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.95
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $4.96 (38%)
Sold by: Random House LLC


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Book Description

An international best-seller with more than one million copies in print and a winner of France's Prix Goncourt, The Lover has been acclaimed by critics all over the world since its first publication in 1984.

Set in the prewar Indochina of Marguerite Duras's childhood, this is the haunting tale of a tumultuous affair between an adolescent French girl and her Chinese lover. In spare yet luminous prose, Duras evokes life on the margins of Saigon in the waning days of France's colonial empire, and its representation in the passionate relationship between two unforgettable outcasts.

Long unavailable in hardcover, this edition of The Lover includes a new introduction by Maxine Hong Kingston that looks back at Duras's world from an intriguing new perspective--that of a visitor to Vietnam today.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


It is said old loves can haunt us. The Lover creates this feeling through an atmosphere of shadows, veils, floating memories that came from - was it this boat trip or the last one? from age eight or twelve or thirty? In the end it doesn't matter, for the experience is now embedded, a distinct yet inseparable part of the personality. Marguerite Duras mines her own past to tell The Lover, the story of an adolescent girl growing up in Indochina during the 1930s. The girl is wayward, rebellious; one day, returning to school on the ferry, dressed in gold lame shoes, a man's hat and a silk dress, she encounters the son of a Chinese millionaire. Soon they are involved in the first affair of her life, one she claims has no basis in love for her. He can never marry her - his father has refused - and she says she will leave without regrets. But is that possible? Years later she looks back. By presenting ideas and memories in paragraphs that are literally isolated yet constantly overlapping, The Lover creates a misty world of connections made by emotion rather than logic or chronology, a feeling that lingers after the book itself is closed. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 821 KB
  • Print Length: 129 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375700528
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st Pantheon paperback ed edition (July 6, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0055PGVFS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,141 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Remembering the sexual past October 23, 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Lover by Marquerite Duras is a well written book, structured like dreams and memories rather than a chronological or logical sequence of events and impressions. The book is short, a little over a 100 pages, and is written in short impressionistic paragraphs that move from present to various days in the past.

A French family in Indochina is reduced to working-poor status due to the death of the father and the mother's attempts to maintain the family while working as a school administrator. Yet this family if full of tensions since the mother favors the worthless older brother at the expense of the middle-child sister and younger brother. This mother barely can keep food on the table while trying to rescue the older son from debts, fights, and other problems. This allows the daughter to grow up too fast, acting as the mother for the emotionally neglected younger brother. The young woman sometimes is the narrarator and sometimes the story is told in third person. Duras pulls this off with ease.

What happens to girls that are forced to grow up too fast? This is really the theme of this wonderful book. For girls that are put in this position make bad choices and are exposed to too much adult pain too soon. Living in a boarding school with little supervision, she wears make-up too soon and dresses provocatively too soon. Duras hints that the young woman, though still a virgin, is contemplating prostitution. Wearing her mother's tight rust colored silk dress, with gold lame high heels, and a floppy man's hat, she is spotted by the son of a Chinese millionare. This man is 12 years older than she, making her 15 and thus making him 27. Their affair begins with her first act of intercourse. She is so nieve that she is surprised that she bleeds when penetrated.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written January 1, 2003
I read this book in one day. This was my first introduction to Duras. What an incredible story! Her writing is like poetry, like a song, filled with lyrical descriptions of her surroundings as well as her feelings, filled with gorgeous imagery and constant forshadowing towards the demise of her own family.
The story itself would be totally unacceptable by today's (or the entire 20th century's) standards, being that of an illicit love affair, set in prewar Indochina (today's Vietnam) between a 15-year-old French girl and a 27-year-old Chinese son of a millionaire. However, it is what it is, it happened, and the way the story is told is beautiful and impassioned.
What's most amazing here is the evolution of the girl's psyche. In many ways, she was obviously mature way beyond her years, fatalistic and dark, all brought on by the loneliness and frustration of life with her mother and brothers. At the same time, she was naive in the sense that she thought she was strong enough to handle this affair without falling in love. The girl tried to convince herself that money was the only objective in this affair (when in fact, money was the only reason why her mother(!) allowed her to continue see her lover--ouch!).
Duras' writing reminds me of that of Maxine Hong Kingston's (or is it vice versa?). Many thoughts are repeated throughout the pages, like refrains or choruses. She switches the narrative from first to third person. She switches time frames from past to present and back again. It's as if the whole novel was written completely stream-of-consciousness, or possibly a parallel to the unpredictable horrors of her own mother's madness.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memories elucidated January 11, 2004
THE LOVER by Marguerite Duras, which was an international best seller and winner of the Prix Goncourt in France, tells the story of a young French girl growing up in Indochina in the 1930s and her affair with the son of a Chinese millionaire. She does not love him and his father refuses to allow them to stay together because she is white, but, to me, the love story, while serving as the reason for the story, is not the central focus. More riveting, I found was the emotional violence of the narrator's family life and the style in which it is written.

The book is written expertly and experimentally in a way that moves like a recollecting mind among ideas, images and themes. At first this is disorienting to the reader, but it begins to feel very natural very quickly, because I think the style effectively mimics the way the mind flows back over our past. Duras wrote the reputedly semi-autobiographical book over four months in 1984 when she was nearly seventy years old.

The passages on the life of her family are tragic and, as I said, emotionally very violent. The nameless French narrator grows up with a poor mother who is a school mistress in Indochina and her two brothers. The elder brother seems to be incredibly self involved and coddled by their mother, but the younger siblings are afraid of him. Duras recounts his actions with a distance that makes his behaviors more frightening, and he emerges as a central force of the book.

The small book, a little over 100 pages, is hard to forget. It so well mimics the process of the mind, it begins to feel as if it is one's own memories, mined from all the connections thoughts seek to make when we look back to a time long past that won't let us go.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's okay.
Published 8 hours ago by Claire Cheng
4.0 out of 5 stars My friend recommended it for its unique perspective about love and...
My friend recommended it for its unique perspective about love and sexuality. I started it and was mesmerized by the meandering narrative into a world I'm not familiar with and the... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Z. Gorman
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic
If you see the movie you will love to buy the book , so poetic , certainly something to have in your library .
Published 1 month ago by Car
4.0 out of 5 stars The Film...then the novel
I had seen the film quite a few years ago. It was, I think, the first Western film actually filmed in Vietnam since The American War. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Cliff Lapp
5.0 out of 5 stars A Evocative Reverie Revolving Around A Profound Love Experience
This book is a 'keeper,' which at each reading (I've read it 4 times) evokes a deeper understanding of the author's experience. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Mccarthy
3.0 out of 5 stars hmmm
The book is excellent. However, I'm confused that the English translation is award winning. In a few passages it just seems poorly translated, although I am not an expert of Duras,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great writer and great classic.
Finally read this after 4 years of staring at the cover. In French and English! Great book. Just gotta get use to her style of writing, takes a few pages.
Published 2 months ago by JungleJules0913
5.0 out of 5 stars great story great style.
Loved it, very different style. Great story, emotional. A true reflection of a wondering mind and how the brain works out emotions and memories.
Published 3 months ago by Alexander
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy
I thought it was sexy, and sexy is often enough for me. The fact that it is beautifully written, haunting, profound, and quite moving is all delicious, heavenly gravy.
Published 4 months ago by Jeremiah Granden
2.0 out of 5 stars disjointed
The writing seems like a stream of consciousness rather than a storyline. Confusing to follow though intriguing characters and dysfunctional family members and inter... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Anne
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