“A selection of her books has recently been published in an Everyman’s Library edition, with an introduction by the novelist Rachel Kushner. On the face of it, it’s an idiosyncratic grouping, to put it kindly: ‘The Lover’ (1985); ‘Practicalities’ (1990), her riffs on alcohol, men and other forces of mayhem in her life; and her posthumously published journals, ‘Wartime Notebooks’ (2008). Why not ‘The Ravishing of Lol Stein,’ the novel she was proudest of, I wondered, or ‘Blue Eyes, Black Hair,’ to give a sense of her formal experimentation and sheer weirdness (it’s an entire novel more or less about a naked woman lying on a bed with a piece of black silk over her face — and it kind of works)?
But the wisdom of these choices becomes apparent. We get as complete a portrait as we can hope for: the writer the world knows (‘The Lover’ was a global best seller); the one performing her public role (she’s very much the literary grande dame in the chatty essays in ‘Practicalities’); and the one at work, spurring herself on in notebooks that an editor called Duras’s ‘workshop, gymnasium, kitchen, treasure chest.'”