I think I blew through this slender book a little too quickly. I should have taken more time to savor each paragraph of Duras' sparsely beautiful prose. I feel a re-read coming in the future.
I love the way Duras chose to eschew the traditional linear narrative and instead let the story wind across the pages and circle back upon itself, flowing a bit like the way she describes the Mekong and picking up everything in its path. In some ways the pacing of it evoked the languorous speed of life in the sweltering tropics.
When I picked this up, I was expecting the tale of how an affair with an older man forever changed a young girl, but that was only a small part of the picture Duras painted of the girl and her life in colonial Indochina in the 1930s. What most piqued my interest was the deteriorating relationship between the girl and her mother, as I've got one of my own to contend with. Like the girl, I grew up with a mother who was depressed and wouldn't acknowledge it, and that had real implications for me and for my sister, implications my mother still is incapable of seeing or understanding. Depression can be a very selfish illness.
So the book, the family relationship, the girl's desire for escape — all of this resonated with me. In some very real ways, I'm finding Duras to be a kindred spirit. I look forward to reading more of her work.
I noticed she again did a rather curious thing by shifting the point of view toward the end of the book from first person to third. I wonder why that is and whether Jessica Treat
picked up this trick from Duras?