cover image Yann Andrea Steiner: A Memoir

Yann Andrea Steiner: A Memoir

Marguerite Duras. Scribner Book Company, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19590-2

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.)