Book-a-Day-Challenge Day 9


The story feels like a very reduced film script which I think is very typical of her novels. There is a subtle subdued bleakness and very little that could be described as a plot. It takes some time to find your way around the get an idea of the characters and what is really going on. I really enjoyed the heavy dreamlike atmosphere

The only thing that moves in Laos the French said is the river Mekong and following the pregnant girl from Cambodia to India along the Mekong felt like this. There is this simmering slowly burning mystery to the novel only there is not really a mystery. This made me feel a little bit cheated at the end, like when I was a kid and forced my kaleidoscope open, only to be sooo disappointed when I discovered it’s only a tube of mirrors containing some loose coloured beads …

OK so we the young pregnant girl in Cambodia who is rejected by her family and sent off into the wilderness. She is sleeping rough, begging and eating whatever she finds. Eventually she has to give up her baby. The story than moves on to Calcutta to the Vice-Consul and his relation the the French ambassador’s wife. It’s not really clear what this part has to do with the pregnant girl walking out of Cambodia it’s only somehow clear she will also end in Calcutta.

Marguerite Dumas doesn’t give a damn if her readers understand, she tells the story from her perspective and I read somewhere it’s based on an encounter she once had in India. Not everything is revealed and explained but in order to enjoy the book you need to let the writings flow around you, like a wave.

I can understand that some readers will be turned off by her writing style, I enjoyed this weird little book, but would probably have had some issues if it would have been a lot longer…

Have you read anything by Marguerite Dumas before? Anything you would recommend?

Check out JG Ballard’s „The Drowned World“ if you would like to remain in a feverish sticky atmosphere or the diaries of Anaïs Nin.

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