The North China Lover Review

The North China Lover
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The North China Lover ReviewIn 1984, Marguerite Duras won the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary award, for her short novel, "The Lover". That novel told the simple story of an adolescent French girl living in Vietnam in the 1930s. She meets an older Chinese man who becomes her lover. It is a sparely written novel, shifting in time and narrative perspective, often difficult to follow. It is also a novel charged with memory, yearning and erotic feeling.
"The North China Lover", written several years later and published in an English edition in 1992, is a kind of extension of the earlier novel, written with much more detail, inhabiting the interstices of "The Lover". Like its precursor, "The North China Lover" tells a powerful tale of love between the twenty-seven year old Chinese man and the barely teen-aged girl whom he meets on a ferry crossing the Mekong River. Once again, neither the Chinese man nor the girl has a name. However, unlike the earlier novel, many of the other characters are identified and the narrative of "The North China Lover" is considerably more detailed. Originally written as notes for a screenplay of "The Lover", the narrative of "The North China Lover" is episodic, described by one reviewer as having the "grainy, filmic qualities of a documentary." It is also more linear in its story line, easier to follow than the earlier novel, but still characterized by the nouveau roman influences that permeate Marguerite Duras' writing.
"The North China Lover", like its precursor, is a compelling work of memory, eroticism and yearning that, in true Duras style, conflates literary imagination and biography. Read it slowly, languorously savor its eroticism, and let it linger in your mind long after you've closed the book.The North China Lover Overview

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