The Lover Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Lover

An impovished, adolescent French girl in colonial South East Asia has a forbidden love affair with a wealthy, Chinese man, twelve years her senior. An aloof, seemingly uncaring mother, a cruel, dominating older brother and a weak, helpless younger brother make up the family she is at once trying to escape and save.
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The review of this Book prepared by Meredith

In this sad, cool, short novel, Duras tells the largely autobiographical story of a 15-year-old European girl's first affair with an older Chinese man in French Indochina during the 1930s. Stereotypes and expectations are inverted: she is poor, he wealthy; she seduces him, not vice versa; she controls the relationship, does not love him though he is hopelessly besotted with her, and she dictates all the terms, including how and when it ends. Duras uses cinematic techniques -- flashbacks and forwards, repetitions, incidents cut up and interrupted by seemingly unrelated descriptions -- and switches between first and third person to enrich what at first seems a fairly dry and unadorned narrative. A depressing yet eloquent work of art.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Lover

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Kind of romance:    -   seduction (yum!) Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Chinese Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Strong "rags to riches" component?    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Mother (or standin)    -   Brother Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   rebelling against parent's expectations Taboo sex story?    -   Yes Lover is    -   of a different social class    -   of a different race (interracial loving!)

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   French


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   France Asia/Pacific    -   Yes Asian country:    -   Southeast Asia City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   actual description of hetero sex Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Lover

Marguerite Duras Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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