Okay, you can tell by the title this book isn't for kids - even though I read it when I was 9 years old, what were my parents thinking?.
Set in Indochina, this book is the story of an adolescent French girl, her severely dysfunctional family, and the wealthy Chinese man she takes for a lover.
"Hold up," you say, "is this some Lolita pedo stuff?" Yes and no. I'm not saying the relationship was healthy (it wasn't for many reasons other than the age difference), but Duras added a very crucial element to the story: colonialism. You see, though he was older and much (much!) richer, she was the one who held the power in the relationship - because she was the white French girl and he was just another Chinese man living in France's colonial empire. She used her sexuality to rebel, to gain power - there is a particular scene where she invites her family to dine at his expense and completely ignores him to show how little he means to her, how little he is, compared to them. Fucked up. More so because it's obvious they're falling in love, but obviously this love is doomed from the start.
I've always love Marguerite Duras' writing, (she's one of my favourite authors), it's very sparse, but luminous and poignant. She says a whole life's worth of conversations in very slim books.
But the movie? It was the most faithful adaptation I have ever seen in my life.
Also, call me shallow (I am) but Tony Leung Ka-Fai... damn!