THE SEA WALL by Marguerite Duras


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A harsh grained, raw boned story of ""poor whites"" in an unnamed French colonial possession. It is the story of Ma, a former schoolteacher and a widow, who earns the money to buy a tract of land on which to rear her two children, Suzanne and Joseph, by working as a pianist in a movie house for fifteen years. But the land she buys is worthless and is flooded yearly by the Pacific, and after three unsuccessful attempts to build a sea wall, Ma's mind cracks. Joseph and Suzanne grow up without hope or anchorage, each dreaming that a rich tourist will find them desirable. Suzanne is pursued by patient Monsieur Jo, and Joseph is taken on by the faithless wife of a drunkard who puts him is city clothes. Ma turns her face to the wall and dies, while Suzanne eventually gives herself to another declasse Frenchman who deals in Pernod and narcotics. Not a pretty picture, but the characters have an out-of-focus integrity that cannot be denied. Sensational enough to catch a certain audience- though sensationalism must not have been the intention here.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1953
Publisher: Pellegrini & Cudahy