Marguerite Duras, trans. by Emma Ramadan and Olivia Baes
RaveLiberWhat is remarkable about Marguerite Duras’s The Easy Life is that not only does it feature a heroine who is consistently out of touch with—and even actively in denial of—what she wants, but Duras has also managed to translate that heroine’s struggle into a compelling narrative, all while maintaining the depth of the feminine interiority contained in her prose ... The drama here is riveting in its subtlety. Most of the events unfold through covert glances and actions which are intended to go unnoticed but which we witness by way of Francine’s captive and probing attention ... The information Francine gathers by way of her careful, sensory attunement to the lives of those around her is the seed of everyone’s eventual undoing, including her own ... The part of me that doesn’t care about plot wants to say that these details in Duras’s writing are enough, and yet she gives us much more. Francine’s witnessing is not only pleasurable in itself, it is also the catalyst for the whole drama that unfolds. The quality of her subtle listening, the pain and longing that reverberate beneath it, produce a tremendous and palpable force that echoes throughout the text. Though we do not get to hold Duras’s words in our bodies and mouths in the original French, we are nevertheless very lucky that we get to read them in English for the first time.