The Man Sitting in the Corridor

ISBN: 1562010069
ISBN 13: 9781562010065
By: Marguerite Duras Barbara Bray

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About this book

By one of the world¹s most acclaimed writers and author of The Lover One of France¹s leading literary figures, Marguerite Duras casts a brooding, elegant spell over her readers with her acute portrayals of love: its aphrodisiacal powers and its sweet, inevitable pain. This novella is haunting, erotic, and tragic, with the distinctive evocation that is Duras¹ own.³Ms. Duras¹ 1980 novella, The Man Sitting in the Corridor, whose superb translation by Barbara Bray is only now appearing, was Š an exercise in the author¹s progressive distillation of her prose. Thus unencumbered, the rare bits of writing gain resonance, like a lone voice echoing through a tunnel. Moreover, by writing less‹and thereby suggesting more‹Ms. Duras invests her information with a power unavailable to more copious, if still evocative, forms of literary expression.² - from The New York Times Book Review

Reader's Thoughts

Jorge Rueda

(esto mismo pero con imágenes en hombre sentado en el pasillo mira a una mujer tendida frente a él. Es verano.Ella lleva un vestido de seda, debajo nada. Recostada sobre un camino de piedras se expone ante él. Muestra todo lo que quisiera que él mirara y más. Él parece inmutable. Consigue atraerlo. El amplio paisaje, igual que la situación, oscila entre el cine de autor y el sueño.Él la orina, la toca y hace rodar con el pié. La pisa. Regresa a su sitio. Ella lo sigue. Lo busca, lo lame. Se encuentran brevemente sobre las baldosas frías: un ayuntamiento casi obligado. Él confiesa que la mataría. Ella pide ser golpeada..., no sabemos si la mata ese día.Marguerite Duras comenzó su carrera como escritora en 1943, esta brevísima obra está fechada en 1980. Concisa, tremenda y cruel. Abstracción de todos los ingredientes de las relaciones mórbidas, no es de extrañar, la autora se encontraba presa del alcoholismo. Sola, sensible y sabia: Una mujer de sesenta y tantos abriendo la llaga de la auto-conmiseración femenina, y el egoísmo y la displicencia masculinos.Ante la mirada de la narradora omnisciente, ella se ofrece y él la méa. ¿A quién recordó la Duras? ¿o tan sólo miró su alrededor, y ante con el coletazo triunfal de las feministas setenteras, recordó la miserable condición del amor y la existencia humana?


Short story in book form - disappointing. If you want solid Duras, try The Malady of Death .


In its brevity, its condensation, the way the text is spread across so many pages, echoing the movement, the pauses (I really want to know if Duras's manuscript looks like this, or if it's mere "thinning" so the publisher could have a short-book out of a short story--I'd like to think it's Duras, but I suppose I'll never know). The realization of the shape the narrative is taking: reductively: eye-contact, blow job, penetration, exhaustion, death-- I almost laughed when I realized the pivotal moment of this tale was a blow job, but in my laughter I had the realization of how fucking brilliant Duras is, to be able to take such a base act that often cannot be described without vulgarity (I'm not speaking of morality here, simply the way language unfolds)! It's a fever dream, haunted, so perfect, as if the bodies described were posturing eurythmy! It feels so beautifully like movement.


This book is a familiar (yet dazzling) peephole.

Kelly B

** spoiler alert ** Once again, I read this in less than an hour, but I think it might take me the next month to actually process it. This lady is deep. At first I thought, okay, this is going to be a story like Malady of Death, a man and a woman trying to love each other over some unknown existential vastness that neither of them can cross. At first, it was that. Then, I thought, this must be a dream. Duras must have dreamed this and then woken up and wrote it all down. Then, I thought, oh, this is like an Adam and Eve story, the part where they explore each other's bodies and figure out how to have sex. Their bodies are totally foreign to each other; they don't know what they are for. And then, I thought, they are evolving, coming into real time now, and this is where the man says he will eventually kill the woman. Ah, this is about violence. This is about the spirits of the women who have been killed by men, watching in vain, impotent to help, watching another woman be killed by her lover.

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