The Sailor from Gibraltar


by Marguerite Duras

December 15, 2008
novel | pb | 318 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

"A haunting tale of strange and random passion."
New York Times

Disaffected, bored with his career at the French Colonial Ministry (where he has copied out birth and death certificates for eight years), and disgusted by a mistress whose vapid optimism arouses his most violent misogyny, the narrator of The Sailor from Gibraltar finds himself at the point of complete breakdown while vacationing in Florence. After leaving his mistress and the Ministry behind forever, he joins the crew of The Gibraltar, a yacht captained by Anna, a beautiful American in perpetual search of her sometime lover, a young man known only as the "Sailor from Gibraltar." 

First published in 1952, this early novel of Duras's—which was made into a film in 1967—shows those preoccupations which have so deeply concerned her in her later novels and film scripts: loneliness, boredom, the inevitability and intangibility of love. The lambent poetry of the book, and the limning of a woman's mind, her love and sense of the inevitability of that love are singularly Marguerite Duras.

Translated from the French by Barbara Bray

About the Author: Marguerite Duras was born in Giadinh, Vietnam (then Indochina) to French parents. During her lifetime she wrote dozens of plays, film scripts, and novels, including The Ravishing of Lol SteinThe Sea Wall, and Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and was associated with the nouveau roman (or new novel) French literary movement. Duras is probably most well known for The Lover, an autobiographical work that received the Goncourt prize in 1984 and was made into a film in 1992. She died in Paris in 1996 at the age of 81.


"Charming. . . . All sun and sea and beautiful people making love. . . . A very attractive book." 
—Saturday Review

"[Duras's] sentences lodge themselves slowly in the reader's mind until they detonate with all the force of fused feeling and thought." 
New York Review of Books