"You seem to fear the visible side of things."
"I'm afraid as if I were suffering from Rome itself."
"No ... from its crimes."
In "The Pure Number" Duras muses on the word "pure," discussing everything from how olive oil is graded to how "purity" was used in Nazi Germany. It's short, chilling, and very effective. It starts off innocently enough:
"For a long time the word pure was co-opted by the cooking oils trade. For a long time olive oil was guaranteed pure, but never other oils, like peanut or walnut."
In the final essay, "The Painting Exhibition," Duras talks about an old painter, involved in his solitary act of creativity. She has viewed the act of writing as solitary and lonely throughout Writing, so this essay serves as the perfect coda.
"There are many of them. They're all turned toward the wall. All the paint missing from the tubes went onto those canvases. That is where it now is, on the canvases whose progress it halted."
Writing is a lovely little volume that would serve as a nice addition to a reader's other books by Duras, or as a great introduction to a very original thinker and artist.