“Very early in life it was too late. It was already too late when I was eighteen. Between eighteen and twenty-five my face took off in a new direction. I grew old at eighteen.” -Marguerite Duras, “The Lover”
I have long believed that these lines are amongst the greatest in literature. I know that kind of thing to some extent is subjective but in this case, I stand on my belief. I remember the first time I read these lines and the effect they had on me; I was slightly embarrassed I think by the truthfulness of those words – arranged as they were. They unapologetically laid bare Marguerite’s truth. Her book has the same effect on me that Lucien Freud’s painting’s do. I feel like a voyeur, as if I should look away but can’t.
I read once that when they were making the film based on her book, “India Song“ – Marguerite invited the cast to her beautiful home; Neauphle-le-Chateau. She made big pots of potato-leek soup for them, because she said that it was wonderful to make when the air turned cool. So I decided one day to make some myself, to see if she was right about that – and she was. I’m a big fan of leeks to begin with and she’s right about the lovely way it smells cooking. It’s fall here in Michigan getting ready to head into winter yet again and yesterday I took her advice again; chopping up leeks, peeling potatoes; it’s warmth against our increasingly cooler air was much like her work…wonderful.