When I first came to France, I read books for school: Molière, Pierre de Ronsard, Eluard, Lamartine―it was ‘enrichissant for my culture’. I hardly remember all those readings, honte à moi.
When I got some free time for myself I started picking books from the libraries of the homes where I was babysitting. One day I started one by Marguerite Duras’s books. I hope you have the chance to find the kind of book that bewitches you in the most beautiful way so you can’t leave it until you’ve finish it. I remember I was reading while walking, while eating, while waiting for the train. Duras’s books had that effect on me. And I remember well everything that happened in the story. And from one of her books, I moved on to another and another. The simplicity but consistency of her writings is unique.
There’s confidence in her writing, there is quality and power in her tone, there is drama.
A lot of things happened to Marguerite Duras.
“She lost a child while giving birth, and in that experience lost God and gained unwanted knowledge of death.
Her first husband, Robert Antelme, was deported to Dachau and came back, but weighing eighty pounds.
Duras worked for the Occupation, and later joined the Resistance, then the Communist Party. Was expelled from the Communist Party but remained a Marxist.
Did television interviews with both President François Mitterrand and the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.
Aspects of her life are legends, like the destitute poverty of her childhood, in Indochina.”
No matter what title you choose from her biography, no matter what order, you’ll understand the French language as you never have before. You’ll understand her transitioning from the first to third person, you’ll understand pain, but you’ll understand desire and love.