Synopses & Reviews
Written in 1944 and first published in 1985, Duras’s riveting account of life in Paris during the Nazi occupation and the first months of liberation depicts the harrowing realities of World War II–era France “with a rich conviction enhanced by [a] spare, almost arid, technique” (Julian Barnes, The Washington Post Book World ). Duras, by then married and part of a French resistance network headed by François Mitterand, tells of nursing her starving husband back to health after his return from Bergen-Belsen, interrogating a suspected collaborator, and playing a game of cat and mouse with a Gestapo officer who was attracted to her. The result is “more than one woman’s diary . . . [it is] a haunting portrait of a time and a place and also a state of mind” (The New York Times).
"Marguerite Duras's writing reminds one of the late Red Smith's simple advice on how to write: just sit at your typewriter, open a vein, and let it out, drop by drop. The first part of The War is Duras' diary written in April 1945, as she awaits her husband's return from a concentration camp. This brief, personal, harrowing account of her anguish, and finally of his return—stunned, emaciated, unrecognizable, near death—expresses the entire war. The second piece recounts Duras' cat-and-mouse game with a Gestapo agent as they toy with each other at the edge of death. The third, also true, is an account of her interrogation of an informer, a graphic dramatization of violence and cruelty feeding on each other, eroding humanity and truth, leaving only guilt. The three other pieces in the book, two of which are fiction, are weaker. Duras writes in an unmannered
prose, so spare its very stylelessness is itself a style, using cinematic, fragmented technique, and providing brief introductions to each piece, like stage directions. She is the author of The Lover and the filmscript Hiroshima, Mon Amour." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
One of France's greatest novelists offers a remarkable diary of the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II and of its eventual liberation by the Allies. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation, this extraordinary diary by the author of The Lover is "a haunting portrait of a time and place" (New York Times).
About the Author
Marguerite Duras (1914–1996) was one of France’s most important literary figures. She is the author of such acclaimed novels as The Lover
, The Ravishing of Lol Stein
, and The Sailor from Gibraltar
and wrote the screenplay for Hiroshima Mon Amour
. The New Press has published translations of her books The North China Lover
, The War
, and Wartime Writings