Virtual Event: Emma Ramadan and Olivia Baes with Elisa Gabbert — 'The Easy Life' by Marguerite Duras

For the first time in English, Marguerite Duras's foundational masterpiece


Third Place Books is thrilled to partner with Community Bookstore (Brooklyn) and the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith (Boston) to present translators Emma Ramadan and Olivia Baes, discussing a new translation of Marguerite Duras with poet, essayist, and critic Elisa Gabbert.

Co-translated by Ramadan and Baes, The Easy Life is Marguerite Duras's novel about a young woman's existential breakdown in the deceptively peaceful French countryside. An extraordinary examination of a young woman’s estrangement from the world that only Marguerite Duras could have written, The Easy Life is a work of unsettling beauty and insight, and a bold, spellbinding journey into the depths of the human heart.

This event will be broadcast live on Zoom. Registering will provide you with a unique access link in an email. During the event, you can ask questions using the Q&A feature, or chat with fellow attendees. A recording of the event will be made available and emailed to all who register.

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About The Easy Life by Marguerite Duras. . .

“A brilliant interior novel of a young woman’s existential breakdown . . . What may seem like an idyllic French countryside novel is, in the hands of Duras and her masterful translators, a stunning and intense meditation on family, the self, and ultimately the mind.” Book Riot

“While reading Marguerite Duras, it can be hard to tell if you are pressing your hands to her chest or if she is pressing her hands to yours. Has she mined your deepest feelings or have you caught her heart's fever?” —Paris Review

For the first time in English, literary icon Marguerite Duras’s foundational masterpiece about a young woman’s existential breakdown in the deceptively peaceful French countryside.

The Easy Life is the story of Francine Veyrenattes, a twenty-five-year-old woman who already feels like life is passing her by. After witnessing a series of tragedies on her family farm, she alternates between intense grief and staggering boredom as she discovers a curious detachment in herself, an inability to navigate the world as others do. Hoping to be cleansed of whatever ails her, she travels to the coast to visit the sea. But there she finds herself unraveling, uncertain what is inside her. Lying in the sun with her toes in the sand by day while psychologically dissolving in her hotel room by night, soon her inner crisis reaches its peak and she must grapple with whether and how she can take hold of her own existence.
An extraordinary examination of a young woman’s estrangement from the world that only Marguerite Duras could have written, The Easy Life is a work of unsettling beauty and insight, and a bold, spellbinding journey into the depths of the human heart.


About the speakers. . .

Emma Ramadan is an educator and literary translator from French. She is the recipient of the PEN Translation Prize, the Albertine Prize, an NEA Fellowship, and a Fulbright. Her translations include Abdellah Taïa's A Country for Dying, Virginie Despentes's Pretty Things, and Barbara Molinard's Panics.

Olivia Baes is a Franco-American multidisciplinary artist who grew up between France, Catalonia, and the United States. She holds a Master of the Arts in Cultural Translation from the American University of Paris.

Elisa Gabbert is the author of six collections of poetry, essays, and criticism, most recently Normal Distance and The Unreality of Memory & Other Essays. She writes the On Poetry column for the New York Times, and her work has appeared recently in Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New York Review of Books, and The Believer.

 

About the author. . .

Marguerite Duras was one of France’s most important and prolific writers. Born Marguerite Donnadieu in 1914 in what was then French Indochina, she went to Paris in 1931 to study at the Sorbonne. During WWII she was active in the Resistance, and in 1945 she joined the Communist Party. Duras wrote many novels, plays, films, and essays during her lifetime. She is perhaps best known for her internationally bestselling novel The Lover, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1984. She died in Paris in 1996.


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