Dan Gunn’s review of the whole body of work of French writer Marguerite Duras has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement.

One rich picking, on the strangely paradoxical relation to truth and belief that emerges in a life of writing:

Yet the paradoxical effect of her continued revisiting of her own life was not to create a more solid or credible picture – what, for example, she really got up to with her brothers; sibling incest is repeatedly invoked and occasionally described – but to render each successive self-portrait less reliable than the one before. “Autofiction” is a term often used to describe the more self-directed of her works; as Duras exposed herself more and more, the stress landed increasingly on the latter word in this term. And this could be unfortunate, as for example when it impinged on accounts proffered as truthful, such as the gripping tale of her attempt to rescue her husband, the Resistance member Robert Antelme, and then to bring him home, with the help of François Mitterrand, from the Mauthausen Concentration Camp (in La Douleur, 1985). One wants to believe every word, but the wanting only serves to beg the question.

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