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July 24, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE WAR: A Memoir by Marguerite Duras, translated from the French by Barbara Bray (The New Press: $10; 183 pp.). In a series of intense sketches, Duras recalls her life in occupied Paris during the last days of World War II. She describes the agony of waiting to learn if her husband survived the concentration camps--and the heart-wrenching effort to restore some semblance of humanity to the wasted skeleton who returned. Pausing in her search for news, she reflects, "We're the only ones who are still waiting, in a suspense as old as time, that of women, always, everywhere, waiting for the men to come home from the war." In another episode, she plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with an amorous Gestapo officer, evading his advances while her comrades in the Resistance plan his execution. Reissued on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Paris, Duras' memoir recalls little-known episodes in the struggle against Nazism.

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