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Bonjour Tristesse Paperback – November 6, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066211697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066211695
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,450,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

("Hello Sadness") Novel by Francoise Sagan, published in French in 1954. The story of a jealous, sophisticated 17-year-old girl whose meddling in her father's impending remarriage leads to tragic consequences, it was written with "classical" restraint and a tone of cynical disillusionment. The book showed the persistence of traditional form during a period of experimentation in French fiction. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

Cecile is seventeen. Most of her youth was spent in a convent school, but for the past two years she has lived with her widowed father, a hedonistic forty-year-old with a wandering eye. Cecile has accepted the constantly changing women of their household and cherishes the free-spirited life she shares with her father, including, most recently, a two-month summer vacation at a villa with her father's new mistress, Elsa. The villa is beautiful, Elsa is "rather simple-minded and unpretentious," and Cecile has her own plans for sexual exploration with a "tall and almost beautiful" law student. To Cecile's surprise, however, Anne comes from Paris to join them. Anne, her late mother's friend, is cool, intelligent and restrained; Cecile and her father are exuberant and careless. Cecile expects complications when she realizes that Anne is in love with her father: "All the elements of a drama were to hand - a libertine, a demimondaine, and a strong-minded woman." What unfolds is far from what she imagines. Sympathetic and unsparing, Francoise Sagan takes us into the mind of a precocious seventeen year-old as she attempts to understand and control a world beyond her years. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Erica Bauermeister --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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Customer Reviews

Well, I feel like crying too--crying that this book is OVER.
Haiya Sarwar
Its hard to imagine Sagan was only 18 when writing this story, as the language is beautiful!
Zaz
Sagan writes with a flowing and very realistic style, which I found interesting to read.
17 year old English girl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. T. A. Oliveira on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
`Bonjour Tristesse' is a typical French coming-of-age story. Written in the 1950s' it was an instantaneous scandal for dealing so clearly with teenagers and their sexuality. The times have change, we see the world in a different way, adolescents are the same, but this novel still holds the interest.
Cécile is a precocious seventeen-year-old girl who travels to the French Riviera in the company of her father and his mistress. She is used to having different women around with her father all the time. But when he decides to marry one of them, Cécile and her lover Cyril decide to do something to stop him. Meanwhile, she is also learning about life, love, sex and pleasures. All these life-changing experiences will make the girl grow up towards to womanhood.
Françoise Sagan writes about something she knew, and it makes the book very interesting to read. Her prose never sounds fake or far-fetched. Although, it is a little dated --some of Cécile's acts that were daring by that day are just `normal' nowadays-- it has not lost its freshness. The Riviera settings are beautifully described, and we're often asking what the girl will do next.
It is undeniable it is a novel about that time in our lives when we're not a child any more and not yet an adult. With a mind filled with questions, we're trying to define who we are and will be in the future to come. Cécile has to face tragic events to understand what her life is and what it will be like for the next years. While many consider her being a spoilt little brat, this is the time when she is forced to stop being that, and see she won't have her father papering her forever.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christina Hamlett on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jealousy and insecurity can often lead us to commit cruel acts that we later regret. Although this coming of age story was written in the 1950's and by a young woman who was not much older than her own heroine, it's a plot that resonates with anyone who has ever felt responsible for restoring the status quo within their immediate family. The fact that the divorce rate has increased significantly in the last half century means that more offspring than ever before are dealing with parents who are breaking up, re-entering the dating pool, and (horrors!) marrying new people without their children's permission. At the same time, the youth themselves are desperately trying to define themselves emotionally, spiritually and sexually. While today's teens may snicker at the "scandal" of Francoise's fictional counterpart's yearning to leave childhood innocence behind, the underlying message about the consequences of tangled webs and deception is timeless.
Christina Hamlett
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Francoise Sagan is a brilliant French writer, who here has written an intriguing novel about a young lady's 'coming-of-age' while on Holiday by the sea. What I appreciate about Sagan's works most of all is her style. She writes very subtly, almost tenderly at times, but what comes out of these impressions is incredible clarity into the inner human workings ans spirit. She deals with huge and incredibly moving emotional matters and life-changing experiences with the grace of an unassuming, yet very beautiful bouquet. Perhaps only French writers writing in French can do this (but this English translation maintains some of the original affect). It's like the hidden waters of the subconscious are feeding Sagan's stories, and especially 'Bonjour Tristesse' with eternal messages about life, love, fear, uncertainty, and Destiny. The parvenu paramour in 'Bonjour Tristesse' finds love without becoming jaded by the experience. Yet, she leaves us with elegaic afterthoughts. This is just brilliant literature.
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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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Magnussen on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The complicated, back-and-forth emotions between the narrator and her relationships with the people around her astutely mimic adolescent insecurity and unawareness. Written when she was only eighteen, Sagan's novel of the destructiveness of ennui and naivete thus easily gets into the mind of a teenager. The thoughts written down are so commonplace to youth, that one will find themselves underlining whole passages due to their precise accuracy. Indeed, Bonjour Tristesse is more philosophical and devastating than many coming-of-age stories. Unsentimental, although sometimes laborious and heavy-handed, especially in Part One, the novel reveals the despair of wanting another to know one's thoughts, and the anguish of realizing the consequences of one's actions in the world of adult theatrics. The lyricism of the prose is ethereal and is eerily reminiscent of the work of fellow French writer Albert Camus. Simple stylistically yet complex in symbolism, Sagan has penned a tome that would make any psychologist tremble at the amount of material present to analyze and dissect.
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