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Two by Duras - Marguerite Duras, Alberto Manguel I find a one-sitting read to be good for my soul from time to time, as it was today when I picked up this very slender volume containing two short pieces by and an interview with Marguerite Duras. The two pieces are luminous, but the interview is the real gem. I love how her prose can be both spare and languorous at the same time. But I also love that her stories are deeply personal. They're not just stories she tells -- they belong to her utterly. I love this because that's the kind of writer I am, or aim to be. It can be hard to categorize her work, as it isn't quite fiction, but it isn't really memoir or autobiography either. In some ways it isn't even solidly prose, as The Atlantic Man certainly straddles the imaginary boundary that walls off poetry from other forms. It's beautiful. It's Duras.

The interview illuminates some of her thinking and process not only for the pieces in the book, but also her most famous novel, The Lover. She talked about her earlier work, such as [b:LeSquare|141411|LeSquare|Marguerite Duras|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yxDztJeeL._SL75_.jpg|136381] have a rigorous, mathematical structure to them, but The Lover flowed out of her almost unintentionally. I think that may help explain why I prefer The Lover, because the book itself was an act of abandon, whereas The Square felt measured and theatrical. I also learned from the interview that Duras had gone through alcohol rehab and feared whether she'd be able to continue writing without drink. The Lover was written post-alcohol, as were the pieces in this book, and I find them some of her best writing (at least of what I've read). So much for the myth of the alcoholic writer.