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


Duras repeatedly told the story of her first lover throughout her life. The writing was fantastic (I've had a good run of this lately). The story was disturbing and told in a dream-like haze. She was 14 when she met him and there were blurred lines around whether she was engaged in sex work, or a love affair (and whether either one would have been possible without some blurred lines.) It was a good book to read for book group because there were so many opinions.


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.

Kelvin Tan

Have enjoyed reading this book.

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.


Was far more thoughtful then the LOVER and gave the detail that the first book and movie missed. Especially about the father of the Chinese man.


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.


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.

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.


I wasn’t expecting much. I heard that it was basically a retelling of the Lover and wasn’t nearly as good. Given all of the negative reviews, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. It has quickly become a favorite. I read the Lover about a year ago and saw the film adaptation shortly after. I didn’t think that she could add much to the already rich story, but she really did.The North China Lover is a simple story. It is semi-autobiographical and tells of an affair Duras had as a child with an older Chinese man while living in what is now Vietnam. I found this telling to be much more raw and honest than the Lover, but at the same time was more tender in many places. I love Duras’ writing style. It is the type of writing that is so simple and bare, but sticks with you and resonates.I would definitely recommend this book (but obviously for older audiences).


Careful reading is key to enjoying this book. It's one of my top-ten all-time favorite books. My copy is well-worn and filled with highlights and side notes.I first read this book in grad school (I attended much later in life) - a world lit class I took on a whim. I think we read 10 books in 12 weeks - all if them amazing - and this one stuck in my brain...I found out they made a movie based on the book - oh man - so good. Cinematography is outstanding - bringing the book and characters to life.I think I'll re-read this one ---- again.

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.


Certainly more revealing than 'The Lover', this book made me tremble with sadness over the story of the two lovers. Their love, desire and ultimate despair were pictured so... real.I loved especially when he talked to her in Chinese, and the moment she understood how lonely he was, as if surrounded by his country. His fragile body, his beautiful hands, the way he was unsure of himself - I almost fell in love with him myself.The Child too, her ability to love, and the way she was able to live further - I admire her because of that.I wonder if this was the most honest book I read in my life.

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.


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.

Alshia Delores Moyez

You know, I don't even want to give this book 3 stars, but I'm being generous and sticking to my rule (even thought I had to break it with this author not too long ago) of never giving below a 3-star rating, except in extreme cases.Maybe there's something wrong with me or perhaps my tastes have changed, but I used to be SUCH a hardcore fan of hers-truly, a fangirl. Especially of The Lover and this book (even though it's just The Lover with bigger font & more white space). Today, though, it's like I'm taking a cold, hard look at her work-an "investigation" triggered by reading Blue Eyes, Black Hair (one of the worst 60 pages I've had to get through in my whole life). Now, I don't want to be a hater (because I had such a love affair with The Lover early on), I might give her another chance. But at the same time I wonder if all her work is erotica (not my choice genre to read), and more importantly, if all her work is erotica between 14 year old girls & 35 year old, grown men. The man she was screwing in book 1 should've been with her mother since they were about the same age, instead of going with her little teeny bopper daughter. Sickening and silly. In hindsight I (the reader) was supposed to be so blown away by him because he was rich, had a nice car, nice clothes, and a decent place to live. So in exchange for all the material things the loser main character didn't have, I'm supposed to turn a blind eye to the fact that every passage I'm reading where he "ripped her clothes off", "couldn't even make it to the bed," and so on, is describing sex between a 14 year old child and an adult male.So,I'm more upset with myself for embracing such work, paying for it. I don't want to support that kind of writing. And frankly, I wonder what the author sees in that kind of stuff. But anyway, enough. The review is over and I've talked for far too long on this. Thanks for reading.

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