“The Lover” Is a Hidden Literary Gem, Staking Its Claim in the Shadows of “Hiroshima Mon Amour”
If you know anything about the French New Wave, then chances are you know about Hiroshima Mon Amour, the movie that rattled the standards of filmmaking in the 1959. The much talked about film served as an almost word for word adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s book of the same title, exploring failed relationships, the bombing of Hiroshima, and of course, those affected by the tragedy. However, while Duras may be known most for Hiroshima Mon Amour, her more personal work, The Lover, is something worth talking about.
Duras blurs the lines of fact and fiction, giving readers snippets into her childhood through dreamscape style writing and a complex layering of text. Encircling themes of innocence, sexuality, and poverty, The Lover reads like a lost memory, providing a glimpse at a personal world that likely influenced the intense relationships portrayed in Hiroshima Mon Amour. Part autobiography, part lyricism, part memories and lack thereof — this book is spellbinding and one for the decades.
“We said nothing about all this outside, one of the first things we’d learned was to keep quiet about the ruling principle of our life, poverty. And then about everything else. Our first confidants, though the word seems excessive, are our lovers, the people we meet away from our various homes, first in the streets of Saigon and then on ocean liners and trains, and then all over the place.”