A man hires a woman to spend several weeks with him by the sea. The woman is no one in particular, a "she," a warm, moist body with a beating heart-the enigma of Other. Skilled in the mechanics of sex, he desires through her to penetrate a different mystery: he wants to learn love. It isn't a matter of will, she tells him. Still, he wants to learn to try . . .This beautifully wrought erotic novel is an extended haiku on the meaning of love, "perhaps a sudden lapse in the logic of the universe," and of its absence, "the malady of death." "The whole tragedy of the inability to love is in this work, thanks to Duras' unparalleled art of reinventing the most familiar words, of weighing their meaning." - Le Monde; "Deceptively simple and Racinian in its purity, condensed to the essential." - Translation Review.