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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morally Ambiguous
If you enjoyed Jean Paul Sartre's "Roads
To Freedom" existentialist novels, then
this book will also prove absorbing. The last
third seems to bring new depths and developments
to the characters and their situations and
it's almost like the reading equivalent of
peeling the onion. The way that France's
involvement with the...
Published on 4 Feb 2002

versus
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, but too Long
This is Simone's first book which took her about 1 year to write. - The fact that this is her debut is manifested through the somewhat mediocre and repetitive writing, but to make up for that she has a good story and some very good character desriptions.

Adept describing emotions, Simone brings to life some of the foremost persons of post WW2 Parisian...
Published on 25 Sep 2008 by sanyata


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Morally Ambiguous, 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
If you enjoyed Jean Paul Sartre's "Roads
To Freedom" existentialist novels, then
this book will also prove absorbing. The last
third seems to bring new depths and developments
to the characters and their situations and
it's almost like the reading equivalent of
peeling the onion. The way that France's
involvement with the Second World War
begins to permeate the idyllic (on the surface)
cafe lifestyle of Paris, more and more as
the book goes on is impressive. The ending
of the book is both grim and fascinating.
Depending on how you interpret it, it's
either a deeply disturbing and ugly end
to what's went before or it's a blackly
comic act of literary revenge/exorcism.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, dazzling and infuriating., 24 Oct 2000
By A Customer
A menage a trois that is saturated with a bitter, disturbing jealousy. A beautiful narrative that weaves a web of assignations, petty truculence and ambiguous passion. Set in Paris Simone de Beauvoir captures the essence of the city & imbues it with the necessary haze of alcohol, smoke and sadness to set the scene for the ensuing nightmare of recriminations. De Beauvoir's characters are painstakingly depicted, each permeated with thier own aura of mystery and banality. A brilliant story, boldy told.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story, but too Long, 25 Sep 2008
This review is from: She Came to Stay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is Simone's first book which took her about 1 year to write. - The fact that this is her debut is manifested through the somewhat mediocre and repetitive writing, but to make up for that she has a good story and some very good character desriptions.

Adept describing emotions, Simone brings to life some of the foremost persons of post WW2 Parisian intellectual circles in vivid detail. So if you can handle the rather long read odds are that you will find this book well worth your effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Menacing Menage a Trois, 15 Mar 2012
By 
Kate Hopkins (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: She Came to Stay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Simone de Beauvoir's first novel was to some degree inspired by the two uneasy 'love triangles' that she experienced in the 1930s, when she and her long-term partner Jean-Paul Sartre decided to add a second, younger women to their partnership. Sartre's relationships with the Kosakiewicz sisters - first Olga, and later Wanda, the younger sister - had a profound effect on his relationship with Beauvoir, and moved her enough to use elements of it in her fiction.

'She Came to Stay' is set in Paris shortly before World War II. Francoise and Pierre have been lovers for years. Pierre is a successful actor who runs his own company, Francoise translates, writes and arranges plays for the company, assists in the management, and in her spare time attempts to write a novel. The two have an open relationship, but it is only Pierre who has affairs; Francoise remains faithful. She does not mind Pierre's affairs, consoling herself with the belief that 'we are one' and that any other woman will only be a passing diversion for her lover. Until, that is, she introduces Pierre to Xaviere, a young woman from Rouen who she has met via one of the company actresses, and become captivated by. Unlike Pierre and Francoise, Xaviere is a purely emotional animal. She seems unable to plan her life systematically, or to concentrate on work when depressed. She is quite capable of sitting in indolence in her room for hours when the feeling takes her. For some reason - either because she's attracted to Xaviere's joie de vivre when happy, or because of a physical attraction to her - Francoise decides to pay for Xaviere to stay in Paris and hopefully find a job. When weeks go by with Xaviere doing very little, Francoise introduces her to Pierre. A mistake - Pierre becomes strongly smitten. He decides to train Xaviere as an actress, but increasingly, rather than teaching her he spends his time talking with her. Soon he is admitting to Francoise that he wants to sleep with Xaviere. Francoise is surprised at how upset this makes her. She has a period of severe illness, from which she emerges deciding to form an indissoluble 'trio' with Pierre and Xaviere, and embrace Xaviere's relationship with Pierre and with her. Unfortunately, Xaviere does not want to share either of them. She also, to punish Francoise and Pierre, begins a relationship with Pierre's young protege Gerbert. Soon, emotions are high, and the two women, Francoise and Xaviere, once friends, are set to be rivals...

Beauvoir describes the Paris of the 1930s, bohemian cafe life and the world of the theatre beautifully. There are some wonderful descriptions even of such mundane things as drinking coffee or cocktails, getting dressed or walking along a boulevard. There are some terrific characters: Gerbert the young would-be puppeteer and writer; Francoise herself, thoughtful and full of interest in life; many members of Pierre's theatrical troupe. The love triangle is also intriguing, and Beauvoir brings the tense emotions between them beautifully to life. My two problems with the book is that Beauvoir brings in too much philosophy - in the end, one feels the story, particularly in the final section, is being manipulated to demonstrate philosophical beliefs to the point of becoming unbelievable - and that she makes Xaviere too straightforwardly nasty and manipulative (Beauvoir herself admitted this later, when the book caused her friend Olga great pain). One tends to think that Pierre's rather a fool for carrying on with Xaviere and letting himself be drawn back time and time again into her life when she's so unpleasant and determined to hurt Francoise. The character of Pierre's sister, Elisabeth, was never entirely developed either - Beauvoir tended to make her too exaggeratedly miserable, though her last scene with Pierre was superbly written.

A wonderful evocation of a certain period of Parisian life - but for really subtle characterization and a less manufactured tone, try 'The Mandarins', Beauvoir's greatest novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passion and jealousy analysed with clinical precision, 29 April 2011
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: She Came to Stay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I adore Simone de Beauvoir's writing, and this is probably one of her most passionate and accessible books. Based on a real-life love triangle between her, Sartre and one of his young lovers, this takes a cool look at love, and dissects jealousy with scalpel-like precision.

Set in smoky, glamorous Paris amongst young intellectuals, this probes the distance between the politics of sexual relationships and the lived reality - in theory love is liberated from bourgoise jealousy and pettiness, but the reality for the women in this book is quite different.

Supremely intelligent, self-deprecating, and darkly ironic, this is de Beauvoir confronting the uncomfortable intricacies of her relationship with both Sartre and herself.
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She Came to Stay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
She Came to Stay (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) by Simone de Beauvoir (Paperback - 16 Jan 2006)
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