In this lyrical memoir, French novelist Duras sketchily describes her affair with Yann Andrea Steiner, a man 30 years her junior, who helped her overcome alcoholism and depression. To further explore the bounds of unconventional or illicit love, Duras interweaves a semi-mythic tale about Johanna, an 18-year-old camp counselor who loves a six-year-old orphan named Samuel Steiner. Joanna tells Samuel that in 10 years they will reunite at midnight on a beach and make love. Samuel, we learn, is a Holocaust survivor who saw his sister murdered by a German soldier. There is yet another story-within-a-story: Johanna's fanciful allegory of cruelty and compassion involving a boy named David, a shark who wears a baseball cap and a weeping Fountain which dances a Guatemalan polka. The disparate parts of this mannered, self-indulgent exercise do not cohere into a whole. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1993 Release date: 10/01/1993 Genre: Nonfiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.