La Douleur

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La Douleur (War: A Memoir) is a controversial, semi-autobiographical work by Marguerite Duras published in 1985 but drawn from diaries she supposedly wrote during World War II. It is a collection of six texts recounting a mix of her experiences of the Nazi Occupation of France with fictional details. She claims to have "forgotten" ever writing the diary in which she recorded her wartime experiences but most critics believe this is a deliberate attempt to confuse autobiography and fiction. Duras' work is often cited as part of the Nouveau Roman movement which tried to redefine traditional ideas about set categories of books, fiction, non-fiction, biography, autobiography etc.

In the six texts which confuse time and location, she attempts to convey the idea of the destructive effect of war on individual identity. She suggests that to overcome the effects of war, all must "share the crime" of the Holocaust. She confuses the identities of the characters, including her own to show the similarities between heroes and villains and suggests that such distinctions as well as those between collaborators and resistors during the Second World War are pointless. She underlines the fact that as humans we all share similar traits and emotions, vulnerability, violence, vindictiveness, solidarity, love and hate.