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January 9, 2023


#Novella Marguerite Duras

by NancyElin



Le Vice-consul by Marguerite Duras by Marguerite Duras Marguerite Duras

Finish date: 02 January 2023
Genre: novella
Rating: F-
Review: Le vise-consul (ISBN: 9782070298440)



Good news: I finished it…by pure determination. I will  NOT be defeated by the first book of the year!


Bad news: This is a very strange book…I needed to read a summary of it after 2 chapters. I felt like I was in a maze…no direction…no real plot…where is this going?
Having finished the book I realised that Duras describes 2 main characters who are lost…just lost in Calcutta for different reasons. Their narratives are intertwined but Duras manages never to tell the reader why! Everything is left to “sous-entendu” (innuendo).


Bad news: The wife of ambassador of Calcutta, Anna, hates India because it’s hot. It is also about a man “Le vice-consul” of Lahore who feels that he is entitled to sleep with her… since she will sleep with anyone. She rejects him with utter contempt..he’s very upset screams his bloody head off at at embassy party and is tossed out of the building. More tears and screams ensue.


Personal: I’ve read a few books by M. Duras and was impressed. That is why I attempted this book. We read about people who look at themselves in the mirror and who dance slowly in circles. To make matters worse…pages of pointless dialog with more pages of strange noises and dark images.
This book is about absolutely nothing.  No, it was not a waste of my time because I did increase my French vocabulary.
Book in 5 words: Confusing. Boring. Unfocused. Rambling. Slapdash.



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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 10 2023

    I am right now searching for more French authors (whose books have been translated into English) to read next. I’ve stumbled upon Marguerite Duras, and after some googling, was not impressed by her books. Do you think she’s still worth reading (besides this one)? And if she is, which book would you recommend?

    • Jan 10 2023

      Fanda, I’m reading one of her best books…so far and I’ll post it next week.
      I think this one would be a good place to start reading M. Duras. It is a novella (117 pg) so you don’t have to commit to a very long book. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Jan 10 2023

    Reblogged this on penwithlit and commented:
    According to Amazon Fr-“This novel most resembles a deck of cards, which Duras strives to mix according to his inspiration of the moment, even if it means sometimes misplacing a few cards. The effect is interesting, even disturbing.”

    • Jan 10 2023

      Very disturbing…
      This book was published in 1968 and I think her struggle with alcoholism was blurring her mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if she enjoyed one or more Campari cocktails while writing this book. As Marguerite Duras said about Campari in one of her books: “C’est la magique!” Reading another one of her books…will upload review next week. Thanks for the re-blog!

  3. Jan 10 2023

    Penwithlit: I am removing the “reblog” button….if you like a post you can
    share it on Twitter. Thank you.

  4. Jan 12 2023

    Sounds bloody awful! Congrats for getting through it.

    • Jan 12 2023

      You know oh so well….when a book/movie/TV series is awful you feel like your wasting precious time. If the book was in English I would have super skimmed it….but I wanted to learn more French words. Good news: I was able to rant about it with the cats. Reading another one of her books and it is fascinating, go figure. As I mentioned, Marguerite suffered from alcoholism and the “booze mood” she was in a great influence on her writing.


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