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Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves) [Paperback]

Francoise Sagan
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Aug 2007 Penguin Great Loves

Cécile leads a hedonistic, frivolous life with her father and his young mistresses. On holiday in the South of France, she is seduced by the sun, the sand and her first lover. But when her father decides to remarry, their carefree existence becomes clouded by tragedy.

United by the theme of love, the writings in the Great Loves series span over two thousand years and vastly different worlds. Readers will be introduced to love’s endlessly fascinating possibilities and extremities: romantic love, platonic love, erotic love, gay love, virginal love, adulterous love, parental love, filial love, nostalgic love, unrequited love, illicit love, not to mention lost love, twisted and obsessional love…

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 (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Graceful and timeless 29 April 2007
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Bonjour Tristesse 16 July 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the story of a 17-year old, well-off, girl who conspires to interfere with her (egocentric) father's new love affair with a family friend. It was written in the 1950s, shortly after the war, when the author, Francoise Sagan, was herself only 19. The story and descriptive passages require analysis. This is a slow-moving but intricate book not for someone who wants a highly action-packed novel, as its strengths lay in the interplay of the characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recycle a novel 29 Jan 2012
this was our book group's 'book of the Month' so we bought a recycled one for 1p - what a bargain, and it was in good condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read 5 Jan 2014
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking classic. 5 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A modern classic - although banned in France initially, the risque lifestyle it described offended 1950's French society.
Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonjour Tristesse 26 Feb 2010
By rajking
Bonjour Tristesse is a good book which is translated from French.
Well written and a selected piece of writing .
I thought that the book was in its original language and was quite disappointed to receive its English version.

Bonjour Tristesse
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet 5 Mar 2007
Bonjour Tristesse tells the story of Cecile who is spending the summer on the French Riviere with her father and his girlfriend Elsa. The three are perfecly happy, indulging in a decadent lifestyle of drinking, dancing and sunbathing! Everything seems perfect, in Cecile's mind until an old freind of her mothers, Anne arrives to spend the rest of the summer with them and their carefree lifestyle begins to unravel.
This is a beautifully written book and extremely short, so can quite easily be read in one day. It is narrated by Cecile who becomes extremely manipulative towards those around her when Anne's presence fails to suit her. The book jacket describes Francoise Sagan as the French F Scott Fitzgerald, and their are definitely passages here reminiscent of The Great Gatsby.
This book is a great tale of a carefree adolescene who fails to acknowledge the consequences of her actions and wishes only to suit herself. All in all, a great read which transports you into the heart of a decadent French bourgeois family.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Short, but great. Came in good condition, good packaging and gave hours of entertainment. Great to take on a short holiday or for commuting.
Published 5 days ago by Helena Vukoja
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - some slightly odd translations!
I enjoyed this book, although one or two of the phrases have been oddly translated! Nevertheless it is true to the original on the whole. Read more
Published 9 months ago by JJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice story, very readable
Good seller, the book arrived quick.
Am just into the 2nd part and enjoying the way it has been written and the shortness of the chapters.
Published 12 months ago by fussy25
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it because son recommended it
Short book, translated from French.
Spoilt (or poorly parented, depending on your point of view) girl discovers love, betrayal and revenge and is changed forever as a... Read more
Published 15 months ago by A. Hayes
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
This is a short, but powerful story of a shallow teenager - whose comfortable world is 'challenged' by a new and stronger parental figure. Read more
Published 24 months ago by andalucia
5.0 out of 5 stars great service
I was very pleased with my perchase, the book was in good condition and arrived very promptly, would definately buy from this supplier again
Published on 8 Sep 2011 by J. M. Meadows
4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Book That Says So Much
The story of `Bonjour Tristesse' (which translated means `Hello Sadness') is initially a simple one. Read more
Published on 10 July 2011 by Simon Savidge Reads
4.0 out of 5 stars Promising but tails off...
The opening few chapters of Bonjour Tristesse are great. You can't help but marvel at the poise, maturity and precocious powers of the novel's eighteen-year old author. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by John Moseley
2.0 out of 5 stars WrongLanguage
I wanted the book in its original French language. The version I got was in English. There was no clear message on the Amazon site to this effect, and I got a product I didn't... Read more
Published on 25 Sep 2010 by D. Tallon
5.0 out of 5 stars Bonjour Tristesse in French
Enough has been written about this very famous novel. I had difficulty finding one in French as the descriptions seldom made clear whether it's an original or a translation. Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2010 by Antony Glynn
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