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Description de l’éditeur
"Duras's language and writing shine like crystals."—The New Yorker
"A spectacular success. . . . Duras is at the height of her powers."—Edmund White
Available for the first time in English, Abahn Sabana David is a late-career masterpiece from one of France's greatest writers.
Late one evening, David and Sabana—members of a communist group—arrive at a country house where they meet Abahn, the man they've been sent to guard and eventually kill for his perceived transgressions. A fourth man arrives (also named Abahn), and throughout the night these four characters discuss existential ideas of understanding, capitalism, violence, revolution, and dogs, while a gun lurks in the background the entire time.
Suspenseful and thought-provoking, Duras's novel calls to mind the plays of Samuel Beckett in the way it explores human existence and suffering in the confusing contemporary world.
Marguerite Duras wrote dozens of plays, film scripts, and novels, including The Ravishing of Lol Stein, The Sea Wall, and Hiroshima, Mon Amour. She's most well-known for The Lover, which received the Goncourt Prize in 1984 and was made into a film in 1992. This is her third book to be published by Open Letter.
Kazim Ali is a poet, essayist, and novelist, and has published a translation of Water's Footfall by Sohrab Sepehri in addition to co-translating Duras's L'Amour. He teaches at Oberlin College and the University of Southern Maine.
The three title characters in Duras's provocative novel, first published in France in 1970 and now available in English for the first time, meet at a country house on a cold night. David and Sabana have come from an unspecified city with the intention, readers learn at length, of killing Abahn, whom they call "the Jew." A fourth character, referred to as "the Gringo," arrives later. (His name also happens to be Abahn.) They talk about race, politics, history, and political parties in a manner reminiscent of absurdist theater. Dogs howl, people cry without realizing it, and a gun is brandished and eventually fired. Duras's sleek prose unfurls like poetry: terse, punchy sentences that often move down the page rather than across it into paragraphs. The language is repetitive, often elliptical, digging at concepts in multiple passes. Often the spare language achieves a provocative resonance: "They are silent once more. David cries out suddenly. He does not wake, just cries out a little." Depending on a reader's temperament, it can engross or frustrate. Those swept up in Duras's elegant imbroglio may read it in a single sitting, then tackle it again.