The French writer Maguerite Duras used a lot of autobiographical materials in her fictional work. And why wouldn’t she? Born in French Indochina, the land that is now Vietnam, Duras’ father died when she was very young. Her mother decided to stay in Indochina with her three children and, after a series of bad investments, lost most of her money. At the age of 15, Duras began an affair with a rich Chinese businessman, a man 17 years her senior.
This affair is the basis for her most famous work, L’Amant or The Lover. Set in Vietnam, the 15-year old narrative meets a Chinese business mogul on a ferry. The man offers her a ride home in his limousine, beginning their affair. The book is significant because of Duras’ autobiographical details as well as her portrayal of Asians.