Marguerite Duras was one the leading intellectuals and novelists of post-war France. She kept four notebooks in a cupboard in her country home in France, but until recently the importance of the material she wrote between 1943 and 1949 was not recognized. These notebooks retrace the formative experiences in Duras` life - her difficult childhood in Indochina; her harrowing wait for her husband`s return from concentration camp - and reveal the personal history behind her bestselling novels The Lover and La Douleur. These are intimate documents, chronicling each hope and disappointment with a spontaneity and authenticity that make for an unparalleled sense of closeness with the reader. As an insight into the life and work of a major European writer this is an utterly absorbing volume.