|Jane March memorably portrayed the Duras character in the movie version of her novel, The Lover.|
The Lover (1984)
It's clear that the average length of a book on the 1001 Books list shortens over time. In the 18th century, novels often eclipsed 500 pages and were published in 10 volume sets. In the 19th century, serial publication and the publishing convention of printing single novels over three volumes ensured that the length of individual works was often over 300 pages, with many books over 500 pages. In the 20th century, books over 500 pages are notable for being "long." Throughout the first part of the 20th century, the 300 page novel became the standard. After 1970, the average length of each book begins to plummet. By the mid 1980's, it feels like the average 1001 Books list is somewhere under 250 pages long. The Lover, at almost a hundred pages, doesn't even feel like a novella, just a short novel. It's a truism that attention spans declined after the introduction of television, and I think the average length of books on the 1001 Books list clearly supports that contention.
The Lover is another book on the "international best seller" sub-list, notably the publicity surrounding the popular film version, released in the mid 1990's. The Lover is a spicy meatball for real, the autobiographical tale of the love affair between an underage, impoverished french girl living in Vietnam and her older Chinese lover, the scion of \a local business magnate. The love depicted between the unnamed child girl and her 20 something lover is the kind of thing that gets you arrested in 2017, and I think that gives The Lover it's edge.