Marguerite Duras is an acquired taste, one that I do not yet possess, although I’ve read a number of her stories and a couple of novels. This one, "The Stolen Pigeons," translated again by Deborah Treisman (the second this year; is Treisman, the New Yorker fiction editor, translating a collection and does this mean we’ll be subjected to more?), is told in something of a tribal omniscient voice (not quite, or at least not consistently) and tells the story of an old woman in conflict with her daughter-in-law. The old woman’s decline picks up speed when she is caught devouring two pigeons that the younger woman has prepared for expected visitors, and ultimately the daughter-in-law triumphs.
This summary is delayed, by the way, because my copy of TNY arrived this week on Wednesday instead of the previous Friday as it should.
April 16, 2007: “The Stolen Pigeons” by Marguerite Duras