Marguerite Duras

Before her cure, she was holed up in her château dictating one much-worked-on line a day to Andréa, who would type it up. Then they would start uncorking cheap Bordeaux and she’d drink two glasses, vomit, then continue on till she’d drunk as many as nine liters and would pass out. She could no longer walk, or scarcely. She said she drank because she knew God did not exist. Her very sympathetic doctor would visit her almost daily and offer to take her to the hospital, but only if she wanted to live. She seemed undecided for a long time but at last she opted for life since she was determined to finish a book that she’d already started and was very keen about.

This excerpt taken from Edmund White’s article In Love with Duras. I was bewitched by Duras’ stories in my twenties, but have not read her since. Her life was both more heroic and tragic than I appreciated. My memories of Duras’ exquisite stories like The Square, Moderato Cantabile, and 10:30 on a Summer Night are intense, to the extent I am afraid to reread in case they lose their lustre.

[Via, with apologies for quoting the same striking paragraph]