Bonjour Tristesse: A Novel Paperback – May 29 2008
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About the Author
Françoise Sagan (1935-2004) was only eighteen when her first novel,Bonjour Tristesse, was published. Her other novels includeIncidental Music,A Certain Smile, andThe Painted Lady.
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Top Customer Reviews
And this book really is more of a short story than a novella. The first half of the book could easily have been edited down to one third of its length, hence making it something more suitable for inclusion in short story collections.
And one should bear in mind that much of the initial popularity of this book was due, I'm sure, to fairly crass and prurient reasons. The sex, and especially the teen sex, that is described seems very tame by todays standards. So this book really is quite dated and even antique. In a way, it reminds me of an old scratched Elvis 45. It's so hard to imagine nowadays how anyone could have gotten that worked up about it.
Cécile is a precocious seventeen-year-old girl who travels to the French Riviera in the company of her father and his mistress. She is used to having different women around with her father all the time. But when he decides to marry one of them, Cécile and her lover Cyril decide to do something to stop him. Meanwhile, she is also learning about life, love, sex and pleasures. All these life-changing experiences will make the girl grow up towards to womanhood.
Françoise Sagan writes about something she knew, and it makes the book very interesting to read. Her prose never sounds fake or far-fetched. Although, it is a little dated --some of Cécile's acts that were daring by that day are just 'normal' nowadays-- it has not lost its freshness. The Riviera settings are beautifully described, and we're often asking what the girl will do next.
It is undeniable it is a novel about that time in our lives when we're not a child any more and not yet an adult. With a mind filled with questions, we're trying to define who we are and will be in the future to come. Cécile has to face tragic events to understand what her life is and what it will be like for the next years. While many consider her being a spoilt little brat, this is the time when she is forced to stop being that, and see she won't have her father papering her forever.Read more ›
The conflict begins with Anne's response to Cécile's throwaway remark that the young girl makes when her father and mistress adjourn for an erotic interlude, which the older woman found to be vulgar. Cécile soon finds that Anne has made her (Cécile) one of her projects. The plot thickens, much like the motif of the summer's heat and humidity in the southern France setting of this novella. Cécile has her own agenda, including havig a love affair with a young legal student.
This simple novella by Françoise Sagan makes a nice story in describing how her teenaged protagonist reacts toward being tamed by the serious and possibly officious older woman. All of the major characters are well-drawn, and we are lured into a sympathy for each. It has the tone of tragic inevitability that makes the dénouement ring true; but is quite lyric and compelling. Sagan rings true in her sense of the adolescent, and BONJOUR TRISTESSE makes for a very rewarding work to read.
Most recent customer reviews
Francoise Sagan is a brilliant French writer, who here has written an intriguing novel about a young lady's 'coming-of-age' while on holiday by the sea. Read morePublished on Sept. 13 2002
This tells the story of one girls summer as she "comes of age" The book feels up to date in many ways. Read morePublished on April 26 2002