‘Moderato Cantabile’ by Marguerite Duras, trans. Richard Seaver

Another example of a short novel that demands to be taken in a single draught, my definition of short fiction. Read as a story of an almost-affair between two people brought together, as so often in Duras’s stories, by death and eroticism, it will leave you feeling bereft, that something was unsaid that should have been voiced. Read again, without the tension of wondering whether the affair is to be consummated, certain motifs become evident. Without psychological exposition, little plot and the barest of resolution, different readings become possible, almost blank pages that rest on the collaboration of reader and writer.

Published by John Calder, 1966, also available from Oneworld Classics, 2008