Marguerite Duras, 1960
Never have I read about desire in a more grotesque form. Duras causes us to simply recoil from the presentation of lust and wanting between two adulterous lovers. There is no sweeping gesture of yearning for more than bodily or social conquest. Theirs is a purely calculating and circumstantial affair. It would even be boring were it not so perverse. However, intermingled with this stale duo is the portrayal of alcoholism. Here is something different, something complex, faltering and fluid. We are bound up in the alcoholic’s delirium, understanding and even wanting her to have another drink. It is painful, but in some ways delicious, a credit to Duras is the way we do not pity nor exalt the alcoholic, we simply let her go. A sultry read, not for the pathetic romance but for a hot type of drunkenness under the Spanish sun.