I have just read Marguérite Duras’ L’ Amant (The Lover), an autobiographical novel about nostalgia for the unattainable; about the loss of love, before it has ever been gained. It is a beautiful book, full of painful elusive memories, full of melancholy.
I read the novel in French, not a language I command as easily as Dutch or English. I don’t feel I lost any of the impact it would otherwise have made. It was not difficult. The language was simple, but it was beautifully written. It made me hungry for more Duras.
I did see the movie Hiroshima, mon Amour when it came out in the sixties. This is about the short love affair between a Japanese man, who survived the nuclear attack, and a French woman, who had been the lover of a German soldier during the war. I was young, and shattered by the beauty of the story and the way it was told.
Both works are floods of pain and loss and poetry. Both breathtaking.