cover image The War: A Memoir

The War: A Memoir

Marguerite Duras. Pantheon Books, $6.95 (183pp) ISBN 978-0-394-55236-1

In Nazi-occupied France during WW II, Duras (The Lovers; Hiroshima, Mon Amour was a major figure in the Resistance. During the chaos attending the liberation of Paris in 1944 she wrote a diaryhitherto unpublished and long-forgotten by herwhich forms the opening and major segment of this short, memorable book. Here, unrevised, in vivid staccato prose that sears with its emotion, is an account of her agonized waiting at the Gare d'Orsay and elsewhere for the arrival of her husband, Robert L., who (she learned from Resistance contacts including ""Morland,'' in actuality Francois Mitterrand), was among newly liberated POWs found in Belsen and other death camps. That Robert L. arrived home more dead than alive proved devastating to Duras; it will strike readers no less powerfully. This volume, which includes with the diary war recollections treated as stories and an account about a Gestapo agent in Paris, rates a special place among WW II memoirs. (April 30)