Marguerite Duras's The Lover is not a book with which I was familiar until recently. In fact, it hadn't been on my literary radar until I posted this link to the blog.
But over the past few days, I've read Duras's novella, enjoying parts, and questioning others.
To start, The Lover is less erotic than I'd expected. There's a sensual quality, for sure; but to call it erotic, I think, would be a misnomer. This is instead a work that hovers in the ether, that explores sexuality from a distance.
In that sense, there was something - for me, at least - of Durrell in Duras's novella. Everywhere, there's a blue quality, a sense in which time itself lurks and cannot be beat. Duras writes as if on silk: her prose slither, charting the human form.
Plot, of course, is limited - which is fine: there's more to The Lover than action and character. Instead, there's memory of action; characters, meanwhile, are nothing if not figments of recollection.
Perhaps that's the greatest success of Duras's book: in the end, the sexual act is limited in time. And yet, taken as a figment of memory, it has the potential to last forever. This, in effect, is what Duras has constructed: an endless memory, a vision of her youth, cast into the future.