L’Amant de la Chine du Nord

ISBN: 2070388093
ISBN 13: 9782070388097
By: Marguerite Duras

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About this book

«J'ai appris qu'il était mort depuis des années. C'était en mai 1990 [...]. Je n'avais jamais pensé à sa mort. On m'a dit aussi qu'il était enterré à Sadec, que la maison bleue était toujours là, habitée par sa famille et des enfants. Qu'il avait été aimé à Sadec pour sa bonté, sa simplicité et qu'aussi il était devenu très religieux à la fin de sa vie.J'avais abandonné le travail que j'étais en train de faire. J'ai écrit l'histoire de l'amant de la Chine du Nord et de l'enfant : elle n'était pas encore là dans L'Amant, le temps manquait autour d'eux. J'ai écrit ce livre dans le bonheur fou de l'écrire. Je suis restée un an dans ce roman, enfermée dans cette année-là de l'amour entre le Chinois et l'enfant.Je ne suis pas allée au-delà du départ du paquebot de ligne, c'est-à-dire le départ de l'enfant.» - Marguerite Duras.

Reader's Thoughts

Bistra Ivanova

Написана след "несъгласието" (твърдят издателите от Колибри) на Дюрас с филмовата версия на The Lover на Жан-Жак Ано (разбирам я; и аз не успях да го догледам), на тази книга определено повече й подхожда заглавието "Любовникът - пренаписан". Точно това е направила Дюрас в края на кариерата си и то по доста плосък начин. Ако първият Любовник оцених така високо заради оголването на историята до скелет и премахването на всяка излишна сцена, изречение, думичка, запетайка, тук тежестта на видимите детайли и обясненията откровено ме ядосаха и захвърлих книгата наполовина. Имаше и още една причина: както казах, Дюрас е била (меко казано) "несъгласна" с версията на Ано и затова тук, с бележки под линия, е оставила множество инструкции: "В случай на екранизация има две възможности. Или в кадър е лицето на майката, която разказва, без да виждаме. Или се вижда масата и децата, докато тече разказът на майката за тях. Авторът предпочита втората възможност." Или: "В случай на филмиране малката не трябва да е просто красива. Това навярно би навредило на филма. Става дума за нещо друго, което се излъчва от малката, нещо, на което трудно може да се "устои" - някакво първично любопитство, липса на възпитание, липса, да, на свенливост. Някоя малка Мис Франция би провалила целия филм. Нещо по-лошо: би го обезличила. Красотата не въздейства. Тя не се съзерцава. Тя бива съзерцавана." Разбирам огорчението й, но не разбирам защо не е успяла да се справи с него - подписвайки договор за екранизация, тя несъмнено е знаела, че ще се появи нещо ново, нещо чуждо, продукт на друг поглед към нейната съкровена (биографична) история, който поглед едва ли ще й хареса. И после - за да оправи нещата - нова книга; излишно и жалко; като това, което често става във вестниците - единият, другият и накрая - понеже има право на отговор, а не какво толкова да каже - пак първият.


** spoiler alert ** I was first acquainted with Duras' work after watching Hiroshima mon amour, the film by Alain Resnais for which she had written the screenplay. I was sixteen at the time, and our History teacher, who was from France, made us watch it. I was absolutely enthralled by the language of the film, the language of Duras. Three years later, as I was passing by our college's book store, I noticed L'amant de la Chine du Nord was being sold for a French class, and bought it (although it wasn't being taught in my own French class). It is the first book I read this year, having finished it on January 2nd. As I understand it, Duras rewrote her earlier work L'amant as she was disappointed with how its film (directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud) turned out, and it is the reason why the updated L'amant has many footnotes and passages regarding filmography: "en cas de cinéma..." or "dans le cas d'un film..." she writes. She gives directives in the story on how to film a certain scene, from which angle. Her footnotes also contain elements about the caracters from the novel and what became of them, like Hélène Lagonelle. Duras' style is wonderful and fresh, and if read aloud is even better (obviously well-punctuated, with the right emphasis on the right words). Very rich in imagery, very to-the-point and poignant, it's what made me want to read the book in the first place and what pushed me to finish it. Honestly, I wasn't very interested in the story. Some parts of it still remain very obscure to me. The lovemaking scenes I found very endearing and well-written, but after so many of them they became a drag. I was also surprised at the apparent incest between the child and her brother Paulo, and how hypersexual the said child was for her age. I didn't feel a connection to any of the caracters, maybe perhaps a bit of pity for the mother, who was so foolish with her eldest son and so blinded by her love for him. Perhaps if I read the original L'amant, I'll feel more enthralled by the story of a fifteen year-old child and her much older Chinese lover.

Ibrahem Sopuh

المذكرات وسيرة الموت اقطاب تثقل قلبي بالألم ..

Laura Jennings

Chosen for the narrative voice, the sense of place and the balance of narrative versus incident. Where Duras takes her largely autobiographical memoir and makes it a more traditional piece of fiction.

Dilyana Georgieva

Изключително странен, труден за четене и мъчителен стил тип сценарий с отсенки на (за)бележки към режисьора. Не че е чудно - книгата е отговорът на Дюрас към филмовия вариант на "Любовникът" - жената очевидно е останала недоволна от изпълнението, но трябваше ли толкова тежко да пише пак същата история? От изследователска гледна точка експериментът е интересен, но от читателска - нечетивен.

Aisha Al-sulaiti

بودي لو افجرها.


I was entranced with The Lover when I read it in college, and curious as to how this novel-as-screenplay would feel to me almost a decade later. Duras is a sensuous, spare and intimate writer whose prose hints at meaning that only she knows fully. I found myself reading and re-reading The North China Lover to discover the truth - did she have an affair with her brother? Was she in love with her North China lover? or was she prostituted? Details that had been forgotten were revealed, and the melancholy tone lingered well after the final pages.


The North China Lover reads a little bit more like a screen-play, with Duras' stage direction in the footnotes. I tried to read it as a separate work from The Lover and separate from the film, but they're all tangled together, like different fragments, which is perhaps how Duras had to put it together for herself. I think of The Lover as the prelude in poem form and The North China Lover as the novel, fleshed out and rich.


Ci sono amori che non si possono raccontare, ma solo vivere per sempre. Finch� uno sa che l'altro � vivo, testimone di ci� che � stato, che non sar� pi� nella realt�, ma che � padrone di ogni gesto. L'Amante, fu un tentativo, ma "loro" esistevano ancora. Poi, lui mor� e lei rimase sola con il suo amore, e il suo dolore. Solo a quel punto ha potuto, ha dovuto, urlarlo al mondo intero, raccontarlo, perch� non si perdesse. Raccontare del desiderio, delle lacrime, della dolcezza, della rabbia, del dolore, riviverlo immersa in ci� che non si perde mai, che non si nega ma non si pu� pi� vivere. E' questo, il vero libro, la vera storia. La gioia, la felicit�, il dolore, il nonsense che l'amore �, quell'amore che � solo passione, una passione che non svanisce mai, come la farina non sar� mai pane senza l'acqua e il lievito.

Dale Pobega

I must admit I struggled to get to the end. Had already read "The Lover" and although this is not the same book, I found it less appealing. Not quite sure what point Duras was trying to make about the relationship and young girl's sexuality. I don't agree with some of the more prudish reviews here about this essentially being a tale of pedophilia. Nicely written in parts - lyrical passages describing the Indochinese countryside just as I remembered in "The Lover". Written with such ease and simplicity. I liked it but felt it didn't satisfy me in the same way as the other book.

Waleed Alshaiji

جميلة كما هو متوقع... تكنيك فرنسي محض، ولكنه عميق جدا. حب، ألم، شغف، استعمار، لا اظنه ببعيد عن السيرة الذاتية للكاتبة.


This book was the biggest disappointment of my life. I still can't believe how much I disliked it. The Lover is one of my favorite novels ever, and I was excited to read a more in-depth re-telling of the story; but, all I got was -- I don't even know what. I adore Duras and her prose, and am generally tolerant of self-indulgence in artists, but something about this book made me feel like I was being rambled to by a pathetic middle-aged lady who was trying to convince me of how transcendent her life was by describing the same sentimentalized moments over and over and over. I don't know. Maybe there's something wrong with me. Of course there were some beautiful passages, but overall I hated this book.


This beautiful, sad book is also an exquisite movie that I have seen several times and will see again. The version of the book that I have read must be later than the original as it is footnoted throughout with ideas for a film of the story.... so, I don't know quite where the two knit together but they are both..... extra-ordinary - (not EXTRAORDINARY with lots of !!!!!! afterwards, but a quiet 'extra' in front of 'ordinary' - not because it does not deserve accolades but because, in our society, we tend to scream such accolades and this book/film should never be expressed with words that scream.)The movie is absolutely exquisite in its delicious sensuality and in its depiction of SouthEast Asia with all its own stunningly sensuous beauty.The book is beautiful too, more in-depth with its story behind the erotica.... the fractured family of the Child: her opium-addicted and dangerous older brother; her bright but fearful younger brother; her ineffectual mother who is overwhelmed by many things, among them her fear of her older son and her star-crossed love for him - her first child;... And then there is the adopted son from 'the forests of Siam', who protects the mother and the little brother and loves 'the Child'; and the Child, whose own budding sexuality is played out all over the place - as is so often true of us when we are young, but is so taboo that it is never, ever talked about, never, ever expressed as Duras expresses it - And then, of course, there is "the Chinese". All these lives entwine and draw apart and entwine again, like a slow, mesmerizing dance from beginning to end.This book draws the reader in in a way that is hard to encapsulate.. as clearly I have not been able to do.. .... It is entrancing, poignant, tender and hard. Completely captivating and richly alluring....


Long, overdone, and repetitive. The prose was so sparse that the book ended up feeling disjointed and slightly pretentious. I liked that I was given more insight into her relationship than "The Lover" provided, but that's the only positive aspect of this novel. By the end, I was so sick of reading "We cried. We laughed. He laughed. I cried" that I too almost cried. Out of frustration. Wouldn't recommend this book.


Read The Lover first-this is an extended version of it. Poetic, beautifully written and haunting. What is love versus obsession? Was this love wrong? She is a captivating author!

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