Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras

Moderato Cantabile is the book that introduced Marguerite Duras’s work to me a lifetime ago. I’ve read it twice before, but was apprehensive of my third reading. Twenty years on, could it possibly be as wonderful as my recollection?

Each time of reading, there are subtleties that unfold, that passed me by on a last reading. The blurb is definitive: “A distressed young man murders the woman he loves in a café, watched by a large crowd.” As the tale opens up, even this statement is questionable. There are ambiguities, inexactness, space for alternative interpretations for the reader, as for the protagonists. I hesitate to elucidate too much for fear of robbing anyone of the thrill of revelation. But Duras is subtle, no heavy-handed trickery, just a fierce intelligence at work.

8 thoughts on “Moderato Cantabile by Marguerite Duras

  1. >I've loved everything of Duras's I've read, which is to say, not enough of her work as I hadn't even heard of this one! I'm going to find it. You've read The War, I think? Mind-blowing.

  2. >No, Colleen, I haven't read The War, so thank you for the suggestion. I've added it to my list to read this year. I've just bought Duras's last autobiographical (of sorts) work No More. Her next fiction that I plan to read is The Sailor of Gibraltar.

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