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Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves) Paperback – 2 Aug 2007


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Paperback, 2 Aug 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014103291X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032917
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 0.7 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Francoise Sagan (1935-2004) took her nom de plume from Marcel Proust’s Princesse de Sagan and was eighteen years old when she wrote her bestseller Bonjour Tristesse. Having failed to pass her examinations at the Sorbonne, she decided to write a novel. It received international acclaim and by 1959 had sold 850,000 in France alone. Bonjour Tristesse scandalized 1950s France with its portrayal of teenager terrible Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and responsibility to choose her own sexual freedom.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 April 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a intruiging and lyrical classic depicting the shallowness of youth, set in the French Riviera one idyllic summer. The heroine decides to scheme and manipulate the lives of her family and friends, completely unaware of the drastic effect she will have. A realistic and moral tale, about how dangerous it can be to meddle in others' affairs. A brief, but utterly worthwhile read.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By S. Bailey VINE VOICE on 29 April 2007
Format: Paperback
It's hard to believe, now, that this book scandalised 1950s France. Seventeen year old Cécile, and her father Raymond epitomise the Beautiful People of the French Riviera: fun-loving and decadent, Raymond loves fast cars and attractive women and has taught his daughter to emulate his hedonistic lifestyle. This she does with an innocence impossible after the 1960s, stating of the one boy with whom she even flirts during the course of the book, "if Cyril had not been so fond of me I would have become his mistress that week." The picture is entirely charming, even if the lifestyle is now entirely gone.

And then, in the middle of one long summer, Raymond drops his current lover, the sunburned redhead Elsa, and proposes to marry Anne, an old friend. Cécile is appalled; her dreams of life with her father, of the balance of power between them gradually shifting in favour of her telling him her adventures, seem about to be shattered. She determines to stop the marriage, and forms a plan involving Cyril and Elsa pretending to become lovers right under Raymond's nose, trusting that good old fashioned jealousy will drive him to try to win back his erstwhile plaything.

I was expecting to be bored by this book, but needed something very thin to tuck into a pocket (it's just over a hundred pages). I thought that something which shocked France fifty years ago would be either insufferably tawdry, or just plain dull, but that in either case, morés would have changed so drastically in the intervening period, that the book would be all but incomprehensible.

In the event, what I found was a delicately graceful story which is almost timeless in its depiction of falling in love, growing up, growing older, passion and jealousy.
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By Boof TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback
This book was written by an 18 year old which, when you consider the richness of the narrative and the emotions involved, I find quite astounding. Or maybe I've just got too old and have forgotten how complex emotions are when you're teetering on the brink of adulthood. Either way, I thought it was brilliantly done.

Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness) is a tale of one tragic summer through the eyes of a seventeen year old girl. Spoilt and extrovert, Cecile is used to living the high life with her 40 year old Dad whom she goes out drinking and gambling with as if she were his contemporary. They head off from Paris to a villa in the south of France for 2 months one summer (taking along Elsa, her fathers current girlfriend) and spend the first few weeks doing little else other than sumbating and swimming in the sea. Then Anne arrives (Cecile's dead mothers best friend) who is sensible, intelligent and calm (everything Cecile and her father are not). Cecile loves Anne, but having been used to doing exactly as she pleases, she is not pleased when Anne treats her as the child she is and makes her study for her exams. Cecile is adamant that she doesn't need exams - she is already leading the life she wants (living in luxury and partying none stop). This sort of attitude reminded me so much of those vile brats on MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" - the ones who make my blood boil by demanding and expecting everything and you know damn well they will never have to work for anything in their lives. Shortly after, Anne and Ceciles father announce that they are getting married and here Cecile hatches a plan to stop the wedding at all costs (fearing for the lifestyle she loves with her father and knowing that it will all change).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Shamma on 5 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback
So, the first thing that needs to be said is...Francoise Sagan wrote this when she was only 18!!!

That, in and of itself, is quite the achievement and I was even more impressed with the story upon knowing that. Back in the 1950's, this book scandalized France, but nowadays it appears quite tame compared to some of the things out there. Plot wise, this seems like a very ordinary tale told and retold about a hundred million times in a hundred million different ways. However, it is only when you delve into it and read more about it that you start to grasp the complexity of the novel and the sheer depth of it.

Cécile, seventeen at the time, spends her summer in a villa on the French Riviera with her father and his mistress. Her father, Raymond, is the Don Juan of his days - a worldly man who has had many affairs. His latest is the redhead Elsa Mackenbourg, a typical young, fashionable and superficial woman. Soon after, Anne Larsen, Cécile's late mother's friend, appears to spend the summer with them as well - invited by Raymond himself. She is the complete opposite of Elsa, in fact, she represents everything that is NOT Raymond and Cécile - cultured, educated, principled, intelligent, mature and older! Through a series of events, Raymond finally leaves Elsa for Anne, and even more shocking, he decides to settle down with Anne! At first, Cécile admires Anne, but soon a struggle for control pushes Cécile to devise a plan to prevent the marriage by manipulating her current lover Cyril and her father's past mistress, Elsa.

Reading more into this small novel, you learn to appreciate all the symbolism such as that of the sun and the sea. The sun representing a paternal figure, and the sea representing a maternal one. After an argument with Anne, Cécile runs towards the sea (like a child running to their mother).

An emotionally deep story, that can be easily read in a few hours time.
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