This is a “fictional memoir;" I don’t know if the reason it's “fiction” is a legal issue or if Marguerite had some memory lapses when recalling her youth. Doesn’t matter--it’s a beautiful book. The writing is absolutely stunning, told not in chronological order but almost in a dream state. The book is just over 100 pages; you’ll read it in one sitting.
Indochina, the last months of France’s colonial empire, Duras recalls her life growing up in Saigon, poor, living in an abusive home. She discovers the power of desire, or more appropriately, of being desired, at an early age. She writes of her passionate and volatile affair with a wealthy Chinese man in his mid-twenties while she was just fifteen. She is detached and even cruel throughout the affair. He is kind, helps provide for her family (although it is clear to him that she does not love him), and falls in love. It isn’t until years later that Duras realizes her feeling for this man (who goes unnamed in this book, by the way), and that is where the book actually begins. It's not as scandalous as it sounds...well, it is somewhat scandalous but it's an incredibly well-written love story.