Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

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In this volume of four short novels, Duras demonstrates her remarkable ability to create an emotional intensity and unity by focusing on the intimate details of the relationships among only a few cental characters: from the park bench couple in "The Square" (1955) to the double love triangle in "10:30 on a Summer Night" (1960), each novel probes the depths and complexities of human emotion, of love and of despair. Exceptional for their range in mood and situation, these four novels are unparalleled exhibitions of a poetic beauty that is uniquely Duras.

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In this volume of four short novels, Duras demonstrates her remarkable ability to create an emotional intensity and unity by focusing on the intimate details of the relationships among only a few central characters.

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4.2 out of 54.2 out of 5
29 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Peter Lovett
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Good Intro To M. Duras
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2018
The novels are very short and give a good introduction to this author. She focuses on the inner life of the characters and allows the reader to contemplate what can underlie many very ordinary actions.
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L. C.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2017
not an easy read...but fantastic
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Pretender909
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2015
Great book shipped quickly.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2016
IT is an excellent book and the most important are the photos of the coats.
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James W. Fonseca
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Novellas from a French Master
Reviewed in the United States on December 30, 2016
Novellas really, all 4 only 250 pages. All of these stories are written in a low key, understated, almost as if seen through a bit of fog. I’m reminded of Duras’ novel Emily L, which all takes place in bar where so much is unheard, misheard, partly misinterpreted, perhaps... See more
Novellas really, all 4 only 250 pages. All of these stories are written in a low key, understated, almost as if seen through a bit of fog. I’m reminded of Duras’ novel Emily L, which all takes place in bar where so much is unheard, misheard, partly misinterpreted, perhaps misunderstood and filled in with what is assumed or presumed.

In The Square, a young man and young woman converse in a park. She’s a governess, there with her charge; he’s a traveling salesman. We and they assume she’s timid and homebound and that he’s worldly and daring but little by little we come to realize the opposite.

In Moderatro Cantabile, a woman sits waiting while her spoiled, obstinate son takes piano lessons. One day they hear a commotion in a nearby bar and discover that a murder has been committed -- apparently a man killed his lover. This event opens up a new vista to the woman and she starts going to the bar frequently trying to learn what happened. She comes dangerously close to leaving behind her dull, loveless life.

In 10:30 on a Sunday Night, a woman, her husband and child, and a family friend spend a night at a hotel. We have hints that their marriage has developed strains. During the night the woman encounters a man who is on the run from the police for killing his lover. She helps him escape. (Moral for women: don’t go on a vacation with your husband and bring your drop-dead beautiful girlfriend.)

In The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas an elderly man waits in a village for his daughter to return home and for a man to arrive to give him an estimate on remodeling his patio. The contractor’s wife arrives before her husband does and they realize that both their lives will change as the two late arrivals are dancing together in the village.

Good stories worth a read.
4 people found this helpful
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Guttersnipe Das
4.0 out of 5 stars
The truths of love and suffering.
Reviewed in the United States on August 12, 2012
Marguerite Duras, Four Novels (The Square, Moderato Cantabile, 10:30 on a Summer Night, The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas.) Spying this book in my hand, my husband asked suspiciously, "Is that one of those books that only you like - the kind with completely no... See more
Marguerite Duras, Four Novels
(The Square, Moderato Cantabile, 10:30 on a Summer Night, The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas.)

Spying this book in my hand, my husband asked suspiciously, "Is that one of those books that only you like - the kind with completely no plot?"

I assured him that only one of the four novellas has almost no plot - The Square - and I admitted that, yes, I loved it. Just a housemaid and a wanderer talking in the park as the light fades - it is enough. Especially when the characters are forever saying things like, "Either I shall be unhappy in the same way as everyone else is, or I shall not be unhappy at all."

The third novella, 10:30 on a Summer Night, succeeds as a work of suspense and floats through the mind like an art house film. (My husband seeks PLOT, honest-to-god dramatic action - I promised him he''d enjoy it.)

The fourth, The Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas, proceeds like the late afternoon light in the story, gradually revealing the landscape and the figures within it. It made me realize that I''d perhaps never read a story about a rich old man who was also dignified and loving. I found it marvelous.

Only the second novella, Moderato Cantabile, seemed less interesting, an imitation of the others, with several passages which I admit I found repeatedly incomprehensible - though its account of vomiting at a dinner part is. . . nearly as riveting as being in the same situation oneself.

The second and the third novellas made me wonder if anyone has ever taught on a course on "the Literature of Alcoholism" - let''s say: Hemingway, Hart Crane, Flann O''Brien, Barthelme and Duras. It often seems to me that alcoholic writers belong to the same drunken nation. A sad, funny and charming country - though it is sometimes hard to resist the temptation to count bottles.

These books are experiments - and 50 to 80 pages is a perfect length for an experiment. To me it seems unfortunate that fiction is so often limited to stories under 15 pages and novels over 250. I sometimes wonder if the length in-between might be more conducive to the form.

Duras does away with the excessive characterization, plotting and description that often weigh on the novel. Like an ancient Buddhist scripture translated from a palm leaves, these novels seek to approach life and suffering directly - the honest ache of which they speak may come as a relief.
7 people found this helpful
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PoohBear
1.0 out of 5 stars
Boring and Tedious
Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2017
I previously read a collection of her "Wartime Writings" which was enjoyable reading. All four of the stories in this book were boring and tedious. There are so many other good books one could read instead of this one.
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Jillian Marie Weise
5.0 out of 5 stars
Save The Lover for later; start with the novellas.
Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2006
Duras seems like the Simone Weil of fiction: her characters philosophize while they get undressed and into bed. While Duras covers the same material (man, woman, love, deceit) at least these are fine subjects in the hands of a master crafter. I don''t think we can hold it... See more
Duras seems like the Simone Weil of fiction: her characters philosophize while they get undressed and into bed. While Duras covers the same material (man, woman, love, deceit) at least these are fine subjects in the hands of a master crafter. I don''t think we can hold it against her for writing them over and over.
14 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

brian chalkley
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2015
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Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
interesting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 27, 2015
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Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale

Four Novels: The Square sale / Moderato Cantabile / 10:30 on a Summer Night / The 2021 Afternoon of Mr. Andesmas sale