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“'Le' Marguerite Duras par excellence.”see full review » see other reviews »
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“The story focuses on a 15 year old girl growing up in Indochina in the 1930's. The girl's father has returned to the family home in France where he will soon die of an unnamed disease leaving the girl and her two older brothers to live with their mother, the headmistress of a local girls school....”see full review » see other reviews »
“An autobiographical "novel," The book is written as a memoir and reflects the jumbledness of old memories where searing events from different times and places get jumbled up together.
The events appear to occur mostly in pre-war Indochina and Nazi-occupied France, but the telling is so jumbled, it is hard to be sure.
Ostensibly a story about a 15-year-old French girl who takes an older Chinese man as a lover, there are elements to the story that suggest that the girl has been 'sold' into some sort of concubinage relationship to settle family debts and earn money for passage back to and re-settlement in France.
In the end I couldn't like this book; it was too painful, like reading the diary of a very troubled woman.”
“Not a very appealing book to me after 15 pages.”Shelley S wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
This is a semi autobiographical account of how a young French girl in Indochina has an affair with an older rich Chinese man, it examines the motive for the affair was it for money, escape or for love.
Told it short, sparse, to the point language it never the less manages to capture the emotions of the narrator and to draw you into the story.
“The story focuses on a 15 year old girl growing up in Indochina in the 1930's. The girl's father has returned to the family home in France where he will soon die of an unnamed disease leaving the girl and her two older brothers to live with their mother, the headmistress of a local girls school. Mother suffers from deep depressions and bouts of euphoria and does not provide an emotionally or finacially stable home for her three children. The older son is her obvious favorite and every concession is made to ensure he has a bright future even to the detriment of the other 2 children. The daughter catches the eye of a young (mid-20's) Chinese businessman and they begin an affair that will last for a year and a half despite the fact that the young man's wealthy family refuses to allow him to marry the young white woman. The girl's mother, however, looks the other way since her daughter's lover provides some money and food for the family. Once the affair ends the girl and her family return to France where she becomes the writer she always dreamed of being.
Although this book is tagged 'erotica' I did not find one single thing erotic about it at all. I actually find it distasteful that a mother would allow a 15 year old to become a mistress just so she could have an easier life for herself and her precious son. Apparently I am in the minority as most of the reviews on Amazon were 5 stars just raving about the depth of the beautifully written novel. I agree that the author writes with pretty words and lyrical phrases (unfortunately for me a lot of them were above my head) but on the whole I did not like this one.
“A young French girl, a child according to our standards, is having an affair with an adult Chinese man. The girl’s family is almost indifferent to this. A depressive mother (a widow) is more interested in her two sons, both of them problematic.
Duras claims the book to be autobiographical but she never revealed the name of her Chinese lover, neither in the book, nor in the interviews.
Written in an unusual manner – a little bit like a memoir or like a collection of snapshots – many pictures, almost static, showing the story bit by bit, without too much emotional involvement of the girl. And this lack of emotions, especially while describing the sexual scenes is one of the most shocking features of this book.
“Undoubtedly French in so many ways... from the description of bizarre clothing to the unfulfilled, nearly pathetic, passion of the young girl and Chinese man. This book is a like a series of images preserved in the past. Though it is a short novel, readers will undoubtedly get caught up in the Saigon of the 1920s. ”Arusa S wrote this review Thursday, April 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“LOVE. Beautiful writing. ”Sarah G wrote this review Monday, April 9, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“by author of Hiroshima Mon Amour a French girl has an affair with a Chinese whose family won't sanction a marriage
Back in print in paperback, "an exquisite jewel of a novel, as multifaceted as a diamond, as seamless and polished as a pearl" ("Boston Herald"). This edition includes an Introduction by Maxine Hong Kingston that looks back at Duras's world from an intriguing new perspective--that of a visitor to..”
“Duras has a unique style. I am not sure I like it, but it intrigued me in its differentness. This was a quick single-sitting read describing Duras's taboo teenage love affair (it was mostly biographical according to the introduction). Duras, a poor white French teenage girl, falls in love with an older rich Chinese man in post-colonial Vietnam. The story was partially about her affair and partially about her search for her inner artist.
I was drawn into the text partially because the introduction said the book depicted the lover (a Chinese man) as a highly sensual and desirable man. I was interested in seeing this (considering how much the media has consistently de-masculinized Asian men). However, the lover's masculine characterization did not really live up to my hopes. The lover was cowardly, sex-obsessed, and pitiable. ”
“This short book tells the story of a fifteen year old French girl in Vietnam who meets an extremely rich Chinese man who becomes her lover. He is ten years her senior and very much in love but his family does not allow him to marry her. Doing so would make them break all ties with him.
The girl is based on Duras herself who lived in Vietnam as a child. She lives with her mother and brothers in very poor conditions and the weekly restaurant trips for the whole family, organised by the Chinese lover, are very welcome.
This book is beautifully written and a pleasure to read. The story was familiar to me since I’d seen the movie. I didn’t approve of the story itself – a fifteen year old having an affair with a much older man in a relationship that seems to be very close to prostitution.
But the back story about her circumstances, poor, with a mentally unstable mother, was interesting. There wasn’t much that would make even the prudest person recoil – I would not call this an erotic book at all.
The way it was written made this a good reading experience.”