moderato-cantabile

Moderato Cantabile

Last time I had read Marguerite Duras was for literary studies, some decades ago…
On day, hanging out in the used books section of a Chicago bookstore, I unearthed Moderato Cantabile, a classic I had never read. Here are just a few impressions, in English and in French, based on my reading in the original in French.

Marguerite Duras won le prix Goncourt in 1984 (L’Amant).

 

 

The style is extremely simple, bare even. There is a lot of void, emptiness (many empty glasses as well…) and silences.

Anne heard a cry. She didn’t witness anything else and knows nothing about what really happened. Returning to the scene of what seems to be a crime of passion, she meets a stranger, Chauvin, who knows nothing more than she does.
They talk to each other, on the pretext of analyzing what happened. In fact, they seem to try to better understand themselves (really themselves, not each other) and speak about themselves.
But they will hardly go beyond a dialogue of the deaf, or a double monologue. They do not give the impression of being more part of the world of the living than the dead couple.

Life is only felt in the child who is playing. He runs outside and rebels during his piano lessons.
The café and interior places are the domain of death. Life is outside, in the harbor, and above all in the sky, bright with constantly changing colors. This is the only place where you seem to be free from any type of oppression.

I had forgotten the gift of Duras for these descriptions. That’s especially this element that fascinated me in this short atmospheric novel.

Eiffel Tower Orange

Je n’avais pas lu Marguerite Duras depuis mon année d’hypokhâgne, autant dire, pas hier…
En traînassant dans le rayon livres d’occasion d’une librairie de Chicago, j’ai déniché ce classique que je n’avais jamais lu. Voici donc quelques impressions.

Le style est sobre, voire dépouillé. Il y a beaucoup de vides (des verres aussi…) et de silences.

Revenant sur la scène d’un crime passionnel dont elle ignore tout – elle n’y a même pas assisté, elle a juste entendu un cri – Anne rencontre un inconnu, Chauvin, qui n’en sait pas plus.
Ils se parlent et s’interrogent, prétextant l’analyse de ce qui s’est passé, pour en fait peut-être mieux se comprendre et se dire eux-mêmes.
Mais ils ne dépasseront guère le monologue ou le dialogue de sourds et ne donnent pas l’impression de faire plus partie du monde des vivants que le couple mort.

La vie, on ne la sent que chez l’enfant qui joue, qui court dehors et se rebelle pendant ses leçons de piano.
Le café et les intérieurs sont du domaine de la mort. La vie est dehors, dans le port, et surtout dans le ciel, lumineux, aux couleurs constamment changeantes. Là seulement  échappe-t-on à l’oppression.

J’avais oublié le don de Duras pour ces descriptions, c’est surtout ce qui m’a fasciné dans ce court roman atmosphérique.

VERDICT:  Short Bare. Atmospheric. Duras at her best?

rating system rating system rating system rating system

Author: Marguerite Duras
Publication: 1958
Pages: 84
Genre: Literary fiction

Goodreads

Eiffel Tower Orange

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
What’s your favorite novel by Marguerite Duras?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN A COMMENT PLEASE

Eiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower OrangeEiffel Tower Orange

This book counted for these Reading Challenges:

mount-tbr-2017

 

 

 

classicsclub  back-to-the-classics-2017

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements