Guest Post by M.G. Noles
Published in English in 1993, Practicalities is a rare peek inside the mind of the elusive French author, Marguerite Duras. As the author of some of the greatest French novels of the twentieth century (The Lover, Hiroshima, Mon Amour), Duras’ work has a spellbinding effect on the reader. With a hypnotic prose style unlike any other, she is at once strikingly realistic and dreamily meditative. As a lifelong fan of Duras, I was trepidatious about what to expect from this lesser known work.
But now, after having spent the day reading Practicalities, I have to say that it is stunning! The book is in fact a brief series of transcribed discussions the author had with interviewer Jerome Beaujour, and these discussions were compiled into the present book and translated by Barbara Bray.
In free-form, avant-garde style, Duras discusses everything from her love affair with alcohol to her life in French Indochina. She speaks about her approach to writing and her hatred for being often misinterpreted by critics and “fans.” She talks brilliantly about everything from surviving the war to the details of housekeeping.
Practicalities is a real treat for Duras fans and for anyone who wants an incisive mind’s perspective on the art of writing.
Practicalities by Marguerite Duras. Grove Atlantic, August 1992.
Reviewer bio: M.G. Noles is a freelance writer and history buff.
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