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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A young girl's idle whims cause tragedy one summer
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...
Published on 4 April 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Okay
This was purchased as it was chosen by a member of my Book Club. Did not make me want to read any more Francoise Sagan, as it was about exciting as watching paint dry!
Published 2 months ago by grannyannie


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A young girl's idle whims cause tragedy one summer, 4 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bonjour Tristesse (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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Bonjour Tristesse, 16 July 2010
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a present..., 4 Aug 2014
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The daughter loves Carl Sagan, so bought her this and promised her she's enjoy this too.
Yes, she's as baffled as you are but she's just as confused in French now, and while she's off guard I may be able to sneak back some of the vast pile of my books she's appropriated as her own

I'm afraid I haven't read Bonjour Tristesse myself, only discussed it with the princess while she's been organising her thoughts. Apparently it's an intense, provocative and typically French introspective piece of work masquerading as a rite of passage romance and worth reading if you like kids writing about their hormonally overwrought first encounters with alien emotional psychescapes but I suspect it's not really my bag. I get the impression it's something like Jane Austen writing a fou fou, beribonned Catcher In The Rye which is not really the sort of angsty overindulgent stimulation I need right now. There are still hundreds of books I want to read that I haven't got time for, most of them not French but I'd stick with Fleurs du Mal and chunks of Zola if I head out in the direction of having my head wrung out, though I know I'd be far more comfortable with Hugo than any of them. I'm not really struck on anything post (including) Sartre but I know I'm being irrationally unengaged through laziness, not because of the quality of output so I'm sorry if I sound unfairly dismissive; it's a genre thing. The main thing is the kid enjoyed the book - but probably not as much as the missus did. It was one of her formative literary influences and she's enjoyed re-visiting it. Apparently it is "very good" and as she's the literate one of the family, then I'm sure that is a fair appraisal.

As a present it seems it was successful. The book was enjoyed - just not by me. I may get round to it if holed up under siege but it's not high on my "to do" list.

I think the consensus is that it is a four star work.

After reading other reviews here, I'm now fairly certain that I read Tristesse some time in my early teens though it's patent that I was hardly submerged in whelm by the experience.
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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
By 
S. Bailey "will work for books" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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. Raymond's desire to stay young by bedding younger and younger women is of course only too familiar, but so is Anne's smart and efficient but somehow soulless respectability.

Cécile herself is perhaps the best thing about this book, the character of a teenager drawn with terrifying accuracy. Her relationship with Anne veers between a respect bordering on reverence, and a pathological desire to shock, and this - witness the drunk adolescent trying to be scandalous - will be the thing which keeps modern readers entertained, when implications of extra-marital sex have long lost their power to shock.

What does shock, though, is the ending. Until the last few pages, when the tragic consequences of Cécile's actions become clear, the plot has meandered through a course as languorous as the summer itself; I truly did not expect a moment of high drama. Naturally, through Cécile's eyes, this becomes melodrama, but still it left me stunned. It is, of course, a moral lesson that even the most innocent of meddlers may set in motion events they could not have foreseen, and this thought, too, is timeless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely read, 5 Jan 2014
By 
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves) (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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sweet, 5 Mar 2007
By 
Heather "star_reader" (Leeds, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant introduction to french literature!, 20 Oct 2001
By A Customer
I am currently studying A-level french and my literature teacher recommended Bonjour Tristesse as the first book we should read due to the fact that it is easy enough to understand provided that you don't insist on looking up every word you don't know in a dictionary, otherwise it becomes too tedious.
Bonjour Tristesse is set on the French Riviera where Celine and Raymond, the two main characters, like to spend their summer vacation.
Raymond is the typical middle-aged "Don Juan" "qui plaisait au femmes" and as a result sees no problem in inviting not one but two women on holiday with him and his daughter.
Celine, like her father, enjoys living the easy life in the pursuit of pleasure but is extremely worried when her father announces that he is going to marry one of his mistresses, Anne.
The book is wriiten by a middle-aged Celine looking back on her teenage years and as a result much of the story centres on her thoughts and feelings about love, which although naive and even bordering on downright selfish at times, make an enjoyable read.
Sagan's descriptive writing is extremely effective in transporting the reader to the south of France and at times you almost feel like you are standing beside Celine on the goatpath or lying with her on the beach, which certainly brightens up a dreary schoolday!
True to the title, however, there are a few sad parts which bring a tear to your eye, but the immense satisfaction you gain when you reach end of the last page and realise " Wow I've actually read my first French novel ever" more than makes up for it! It has certainly inspired me to move on to other great Franch classics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The portrayal of a superficial life, 10 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Bonjour Tristesse (Paperback)
Its an instinctive book, using sensuality and innocence at the same time. This mixture of feelings is still true today as it was when it was written... Bonjour Tristesse gives you the naturality and the unconsciousness of the end of childhood with the firt burn of adolescence. It is fast reading, and makes you thought of what are the real values in your life today.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Small Book That Says So Much, 10 July 2011
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves) (Paperback)
The story of `Bonjour Tristesse' (which translated means `Hello Sadness') is initially a simple one. Cecile is a seventeen year old free spirit who is used to a life with her father, one that is lived in relative comfort, without much expected or demanded of her . However things have begun to subtly change in the dynamic as Cecile is starting to embrace her womanhood and sexuality whilst her father has started to take on lots of rather young lovers, none lasting for particularly long.

In fact it is shown how often these women are in and out of her fathers life rather quickly for at the start of the book Cecile, her father and his latest fling Elsa all go to a villa on the French Riviera but it isn't long before Elsa is usurped by the older and more wilful Anna. Only Anna has decided she isn't going anywhere. Initially we see Anna, who happens to be a friend of Cecile's dead mother, as a pleasant addition to the world of Cecile and her father. However before long the woman who so helped and guided Cecile so well after her mothers death soon starts to show the smallest signs of control, including banning Cecile from seeing her boyfriend Cyril. Cecile decides that Anna needs to go, it's just a question of how to go about it.

I admit that when I first heard of the premise of the book I was thinking of the `wicked stepmothers in fairytales', this is no fairytale. What Sagan has done, and I could almost not believe she was eighteen years old when she wrote this, is created a simplistic tale which carries all the complexities of the human psyche and the spectrum of emotions around love, from the first flushes to the darkest jealousy. This isn't just romantic love either, it's about platonic and familial love too. It's about how we react when we become threatened in our routine life by something and how we use people to get what we want.

I was really impressed with `Bonjour Tristesse' and devoured it in a single sitting, I will admit that it has faded a little bit in the weeks since I have read it. What particularly blew me away though was the insight that Sagan had at such a young age of the awful ways in which we can behave in order to get what we want. She also manages to cleverly describe how even when we have thought of every outcome to a plan we conceive something else can happen to change that chain of events and take it right out of our control. I certainly didn't think I would get all of that out of this book before I opened the first page.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's Okay, 26 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This was purchased as it was chosen by a member of my Book Club. Did not make me want to read any more Francoise Sagan, as it was about exciting as watching paint dry!
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Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves)
Bonjour Tristesse (Penguin Great Loves) by Francoise Sagan (Paperback - 2 Aug 2007)
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