Bonjour Tristesse (Essential Penguin) Paperback – 3 Sep 1998
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About the Author
Francoise Sagan was born in 1935, the daughter ofa prosperous Paris industrialist. She was eighteen when she wrote her bestseller BONJOUR TRISTESSE. She had failed to pass her examinations at the Sorbonne and decided to write a novel. It received international acclaim and by 1959 had sold 850,000 copies in France alone. She has written many other novels, as well as short stories and plays, and a volume of autobiography, AVEC MON MEILLEUR SOUVENIR, appeared in 1984.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a slim novel.the story is not remarkable but the writing is.on finishing it I put it back on my bookshelf between Jane Austen and elena ferrante because it's in that league.Published 2 months ago by marianne
A brilliant piece of writing from an author who clearly knew how to write- and from such an early age as well. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ged
read when I was a student many years ago, loved it then even more now. Great little book.Published 16 months ago by j r p
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 on 26 Jun. 2014 by grannyannie
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 on 12 April 2014 by Helena Vukoja
A modern classic - although banned in France initially, the risque lifestyle it described offended 1950's French society.
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 morePublished on 8 July 2013 by JJ
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.
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