I wish I could get excited about graphic novels. I looked at Maus many years ago and tried to get into it. I couldn’t. I didn’t like having prefab images put my own imagination on hold. I didn’t like the lack of complexity that I enjoy so much in a literary novel (no graphics). It was like watching tv in print. Everything is oversimplified. Reduced to its lowest common denominator. (more…)
When I picked up Marguerite Duras’ The Lover, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew she was considered one of France’s most important literary figures, but The Lover was the first work of hers that I had read.
The back cover claims that The Lover is “an exquisite jewel of a novel,” but it’s my understanding that this work is autobiographical and not fiction. At fifteen, Duras, who was then living in Saigon with her mother and two brothers, started a relationship with a Chinese man twelve years older than she. It continued for almost two years. And while the work centers on the sexual involvement and its repercussions in her life, the narrative also slips in and out of Duras’ dysfunctional family life, where her mother beats her while Marguerite’s older brother cheers on the mother.