Why you should reread L’Amant by Marguerite Duras

THE BEST OF THE GONCOURT AWARD – The lover is not a small fictional and sincere thing, it is one of our greatest novelists’ great book, says Philippe Claudel.

Philippe Claudel is a novelist and director, most notably the author of Gray Souls (Renaudot Prize 2003) and the Brodeck Report (Goncourt Prize for High School Students 2007). In 2012, he was elected to the Académie Goncourt, of which he is Secretary General.

When I read The lover when it was released in 1984, I did not like it.

I was young. I was an avid reader of Duras. I had read almost all of his books, even the first, even the most stringent, the most closed. Somehow she belonged to me. In the sense that I felt unique, unique to read, and my relationship with his books was also unique. I agreed to share it with other readers, but on the condition that their number was not too large.

L’Amant, a book from the “Best of the Goncourt Prize” selection.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras is part of the exceptional collection “The Best of the Goncourt Prize”. The jury members for the most famous of literary awards and Le Figaro have selected the 40 best books that have won the award since its creation in 1903. Available in your kiosk from March 10 every other Thursday (first volume for € 3.90). , then € 12.90 the following), but also at the Figaro Store.

We were the chosen ones. She belonged to us.

So when this novel appeared and very quickly gained astonishing success, even before the Goncourt Prize was awarded, I felt betrayed. I succumbed to the syndrome of the possessive reader, who suddenly sees one of his favorite writers become a popular novelist, with a wide audience, and perceives it as a violent inconvenience, as during a romantic betrayal.

It seemed to me bland, simplistic, taking up characters and themes that other books before it, in a wonderful way, had woven

It was thus, in this state, that I then read the book. Annoyed. Abandoned. And it seemed to me meaningless, simplistic, taking up characters and themes that other books before it, in a marvelous way, had woven: A dam facing the Pacific Ocean, Deputy Consul. I had the impression that Duras was repeating himself by lowering himself, by simplifying, in an attempt to reach a large audience that was less demanding than me.

In the years that followed, Duras continued to write books, publish interviews, say something sometimes. Little by little, caught up in the clever play of the media, the character displaced Duras the writer. I participated in all of this with difficulty as I continued to read what she was publishing.

Then she died, and her death allowed me to return to her books, to them completely. She had disappeared. Only his lyrics were left. I first reread those I loved above all and who had never disappointed me.

And then, one day, I resumed The lover. With anxiety.

The beautiful and sober white cover was yellowed a little, the paper on the sides looked worn. But the first sentence, One day, I was already old, in the hall of a public place, a man came to me », The first sentence I do not know why, because it is not the most beautiful, the strongest, the most enchanting of the first sentences in novels, this first sentence made my heart beat faster and I found myself squeezing the book closer in my hands.

I did not leave him. It was dizzying hours of reunion and emotion.

Then all my stupidity, my complacency, my fatigue showed me. My verdict on the past, stupid. My bad faith, immeasurable. What an idiot I had been! The lover was a black jewel that I had taken, dazzled by my ibecility from an arrogant young reader, for some glass.

When I closed the book, I got tears in my eyes.

How many times have I since returned to meet the fifteen-year-old girl leaning against the railing of the ferry crossing the Mekong, adorned in a large man’s hat, wearing gold-lame pumps, her body is almost still a child shows up in transparency under the too light dress? How many times have I embarked on her in this story of love, siblings, warmth, distance, writing, madness and death? Yes, how many times? I cant say that. But what I do know is that each reading of the book made me see a different reflection in him than the one I had in my memory, as if he, like cut diamonds, possessed a multitude of facets, and that each of them gave the light back in a way as intense and unique as all the others, but new and different.

Novel about a childhood, novel about a lost colony, novel about a romantic initiation – and are there in our literature more beautiful pages than those that say this first time? , Family novel, novel about a family madness, social novel, novel about the birth of an author, old age novel that telescopically considers her distant young years, novels about bodies and meteors, exotic novel, The lover is all this and more to when I read and reread it, here and there, and at different ages in my life.

The Lover is not this fictional and sincere little thing, written to please (…) it is the great book by one of our greatest novelists

And then, above all, there is the music in everything. The sublime voice of the Duras, allow me to call it what we do for the divas. Because with her often, but in this book perhaps even more than in anyone else, there is her music, her voice like no other, every sentence rises from the page like a note, each page composes harmonic or dissonant melodies, and the book so it becomes a score that speaks to the ear as well as to the heart, to all the senses, so much so that this music, this voice, in a brutally synaesthetic way, becomes flesh, smell, landscape, caresses, embrace, fear, wonder.

No, definitely The lover is not this fictitious and sincere little thing, written to please, as I foolishly thought when I was twenty-two. This is the great book by one of our greatest novelists, who once again dives into his past and present, manages to put into words his young hours, his suffering, his urge to write, his wisdom and his irrationality . It is the great book of lust and death, of boredom and hope, of beauty and its destruction, of love and its opposite, which is not hatred but loss. about love, its definitive, immeasurable loss, from which we never recover, and which would almost make us hate love, but never, never, never, hate the lover.

The lover of Marguerite Duras. ISBN 978-2-8105-0948-5 Sale price: 12.90 € – 192 pages. Publication on 19 May 2022 in newsagents (2 June 2022 in bookstores).

»You can get this book from the collection« Le Meilleur du Prix Goncourt » at a price of 12.90 euros.

Leave a Comment