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Bonjour Tristesse Hardcover – 1955


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Hardcover, 1955
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: E.P. Dutton; Early Printing edition (1955)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OLEMOK
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,383,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By 17 year old English girl on March 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found Bonjour Tristesse an incredibly moving and stimulating book, which I would recommend to anyone who is intruiged by the emotions that a young woman goes through during her adolescense. The book touched on love, her relationship with her father and the other women that enter her and her fathers life. Sagan writes with a flowing and very realistic style, which I found interesting to read. A really fresh and thought provoking book with an excellent ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pretygrrl on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'd describe this more of a (long) short story than a novel.
It's a little funny, a little sad, and very french.
tongue-in-cheek and nostalgic for a time when the word "mistress" was still in circulation, although already only in use in *some* social circles. when "40" was old, but wit and personality ruled.
I am actually surprised that it's taken me this long to discover Sagan, seeing as how I'm really into french 20th century literature, all of it.
If you are, too, then certainly have a go. Very fun hour or two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. Bird on August 7, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first became familiar with this title after Camille Paglia's having recommended the film based on "Bonjour Tristesse" in her Salon.com column. I had hoped, that since Jean Seberg starred in that film, that it would have been in French. Even though the DVD is in English (I reviewed the film as well on Amazon), it follows the novel quite faithfully. Although I am not a fluent French speaker, I studied French for translation (IE advanced vocabulary in the legal and financial sectors); the French vocabulary in this book is for the most part simple and straightforward. Already having seen the picture also helped me to comprehend the plot. I think it is amazing that Sagan wrote this book as an 18 year old; she was definitely a prodigy, possessing a wisdom, clarity of thinking, and faculty of human understanding beyond her years. To have such insight into the sexual and professional mores, particularly of men, far beyond her years is impressive. Although it isn't the first and won't be the last, "Bonjour Tristesse" is a study of the human potential for wickedness, in a story narrated by antagonist Cecile. In today's language, Cecile and her father would be referred to as players. None of the characters are inherently evil; it is only the combined effect of the flawed natures that contributes to the key sacrifice. Cecile decides to be swayed by her desire for revenge, and voilà the tragic dénouement that she and her father both regret deeply. And so the reader can feel compassion for those characters; there are no heroes in this work. Despite the brilliance of Cecile's plan, it is the impulsiveness of her youth that contributes to the success of her wicked scheme. Ultimately, this more than just a cautionary tale of the bad girl versus the strict/repressed stepmother.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Metcalfe on July 26, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't let the fact that the book is tiny, that it was written by a very young unaccomplished writer in 1955, or the fact that it is French dissuade you. This book is wonderful.

We spend the summer holiday with Cecile, a teenage girl on the cusp of womanhood who is caught between the desires of her younger self and those of the woman she is destined to become. Through her eyes we see a glimpse of the beauty of the French seaside and the complexities of her society. Cecile moves toward her abrupt coming of age with resolve and trepidation... she yearns for the simplicity of an imagined perfect family life while at the same time manipulating the adults around her in order to maintain some sense of control.

Cecile's love hate relationship with first her father's latest mistress Edna and then later with his fiancé Ann, is really a response to her unorthodox relationship with her father himself. Her fumbling in the matters of love with the older boy Cyril and her loss of her innocence, by her own hand, hallmark the classic heart trauma of a girl becoming a woman.

Cecile is a wonderfully written character. She isn't always understandable or likable, but she is always engaging. Her metamorphosis is heart breaking and yet wholly unsurprising. Sagan writes with a style that is clear, concise, and reminiscent of Fitzgerald. In fact, had Cecile suddenly taken a trip to West Egg, it would not have seemed out of character.

With its gripping storytelling, it is no wonder that this book became a classic. I highly recommend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1996
Format: Paperback
Bonjour Tristesse is a great story for a high school or intermediate French class to read. Sagan uses simple vocabulary to tackle her racy subject matter -- a daughter's love affair at her summer home in the south of France becomes "interdit" (or forbidden) when she passes comment on one of her father's latest lovers. Little does she know that Anne is to be her step-mother; little does her father know that she is still seeing her boyfriend. A thrilling story for the level at which it is written, Bonjour Tristesse has a surprising ending which leaves the reader stunned
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. Dain Ruprecht on July 8, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I nominate this little novel as not only the best novel (known to me, anyway) written by an 18 year old, but one of the best escapist summer "beach reads" of all time. Francoise Sagan perfectly captures the luxe seaside lifestyle of the French bohemian rich while telling a pretty good story of first love and oedipal complications without being too cutesy or self-serious. The Otto Preminger film with Jean Seberg, David Niven, and Deborah Kerr is pretty great, too.
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