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A Certain Smile: A Novel [Paperback]

Françoise Sagan , Anne Green

Price: CDN$ 15.76 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 15 2011

Françoise Sagan is best known for her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, which caused a scandal when she first published it at the age of eighteen in 1953. But her second novel, A Certain Smile, less shocking and more psychologically convincing, was preferred by many critics.  Like Bonjour Tristesse, this story is set in Paris in the 1950s and told by a young student bored by her law books, restless and curious about love and sex.  She is fond of her loyal boyfriend, but he, too, bores her.  His worldly uncle strikes her as more exciting, appealingly risky and forbidden. Frank and spontaneous, vulnerable and cruel, thoughtless and insightful, Sagan's young narrator explores such perennial themes as unrequited love and the precarious balance of irrational emotions and self-restraint.

This edition includes a new foreword by Diane Johnson, author of the best-selling novels Le Divorce and L’Affaire.
 
“The second book is now out, and so is the verdict. Sagan’s novel Un Certain Sourire, written in two months, is the new literary sensation of Paris.”—Time
 
“Miss Sagan is a technician of the highest order, working with exceptional economy and elegance in the tradition of Colette and Benjamin Constant.”—Atlantic
 
 
“The reader is given the feeling of having opened a young girl’s intimate diary by mistake. But whoever put such a diary down?—especially when the author is as sensitive, experienced, gifted and freshly talented as Mlle. Sagan!”—San Francisco Examiner
 
“[Sagan’s] style is honest, direct, and her dialogue true. But for her sake let’s hold back those invidious comparisons. Colette indeed! She might turn out to be Sagan.”—Saturday Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (Oct. 15 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226733475
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226733470
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #531,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“This book, written at 20, proves that Sagan is a born French novelist of style and quality.”
(New Yorker)

“The second book is now out, and so is the verdict. Sagan’s novel Un Certain Sourire, written in two months, is the new literary sensation of Paris.”
(Time)

“Miss Sagan is a technician of the highest order, working with exceptional economy and elegance in the tradition of Colette and Benjamin Constant.”
(Atlantic)

“The reader is given the feeling of having opened a young girl’s intimate diary by mistake. But whoever put such a diary down?—especially when the author is as sensitive, experienced, gifted and freshly talented as Mlle. Sagan!”
(San Francisco Examiner)

“[Sagan’s] style is honest, direct, and her dialogue true. But for her sake let’s hold back those invidious comparisons. Colette indeed! She might turn out to be Sagan.”
(Saturday Review)

“A popsicle of a book—a seasonal treat, full of flavour.”
(Economist)

“Françoise Sagan writes in the best French tradition, with real economy and restraint. . . . Higher praise no writer about love deserves.”
(New York Herald Tribune)

About the Author

Françoise Sagan (1935–2004) was a French playwright, screenwriter and novelist whose works have been translated into many languages. She is the author of several books, including That Mad Ache and Bonjour Tristesse, for which she gained quick literary stardom upon publishing at the age of eighteen.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Dec 4 2001
By Tyler Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Francoise Sagan's sublime second outing captures the essence of love. It is the tale of Dominique, a young French woman, who's honest assessment of her life leads to the realisation that feelings for her current boyfriend are only that of fondness, not love. An encounter with her boyfriend's uncle unfolds into new love, friendships and understanding.
A beautiful, somewhat sad piece, with the flowing charm of Sagan's previous work, Bonjour Tristesse. Perceptive and enchanting, Mlle Sagan has produced a book that has captured, as well as anyone ever has, love through the eyes of youth.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The French talent for boredom in the bedroom June 13 2004
By Theodore A. Rushton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Women want to be needed; men want conquest.
Once they achieve their goals, they need to repeat. Some need physical touch to prove their worth; for others, flirting reinforces those original goals. Always, always, always, the human condition is to want more, more, more . . . . This would tend to get complicated, except jealousy also exists to cleanse our passions of spent passions.
Early in the book Luc explains to Dominique " . . . to love and to be loved were essential to being happy." She's bored with her life as a university student, which has become an endless routine of study and exams; she's bored with her lover, a fellow student and their endless routine of bed and banter. Then, like a bolt of lightning, her ability to interest a successful handsome well-married businessman proves intoxicating, alluring, and seductive.
It's a masterful story by Sagan. There are so many women who can sympathize with her description of her student lover, " . . . it was quite natural that I should have the weight of Bertrand's body on mine . . . and that we should be happy together." Somehow, she expected more than the equivalent of lying under a rumbled sack of restless potatoes.
It was a dream romance for her, running away to Cannes in Luc's convertible, tender and gentle and new and exciting, until he ordered her to "come along to bed." They shared two weeks of bedtime; and, for this poor girl from the countryside, it was a wonderful rich vacation that could never be repeated.
It was a love affair, with typical French panache and vacant meaning; she sought meaning in her life, and found only emptiness and futility. Her legs were open, her heart was closed. The music of jazz, she discovers, ". . . is a form of accelerated unconcern." As she idly drifts into an affair with Luc, being very careful not to upset his wife of whom she is very fond, she realizes she was "trapped, that was it!"
Her only calming thought was the feeling ". . . I was going to have a baby, and the certainty was actually claming." No such fear. There's no baby, no abortion. This one thought that she might have a baby -- a baby who would need her -- passes briefly and she returns to the futile search for a grown man who would want her with the same need as a baby.
By the end, with her life empty of everyone who had been present at the beginning of the story, Dominique realizes "I was a woman who had loved a man. It was a simple story." It was over. For the French, fun in a bedroom is boring.
It's definitely not a "romance" novel. Those are an American idea, the idea one can find soul-filling happiness in glorious, sweeping and wildly passionate love. The French idea is that life is a tragedy, and Sagan expresses this pessimism with skill.
5.0 out of 5 stars 1950's panache! Read this one Aug. 27 2014
By John A. Purcell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A 1950's hit read,and movie too! Loved it

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