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Bonjour Tristesse: A Novel Paperback – June 17, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Françoise Sagan (1935-2004) was only eighteen when her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, was published. Her other novels include Incidental Music, A Certain Smile, and The Painted Lady.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061440795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061440793
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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This is not a sophisticated literary work; it was written by a 17-year-old French girl! But it's well written, a good story and a pleasure to read. I first read it (in English) when I was a teenager and of course identified with the teenager. I later read it in French, in fact taught it in a French IV high school class and the students loved it - vocabulary and language are fairly simple and there's teenage romance involved. Now, rereading it many years later I no longer identify with the teenager but rather with the "older" woman (she's maybe 40?) - and I still really like the book. Read it in French if you can...but it's good in English too. Also, it shows some interesting aspects of French culture of another time. It's dated in some ways but for me that only adds to its charm and interest. I really like this book and find it interesting that it was written by a 17-year-old girl (who later went on to write a significant body of work). I recommend it and only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because it is rather dated and not great literature.
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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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By A Customer on September 13, 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 and spirit. She deals with huge and incredibly moving emotional matters and life-changing experiences with such grace. 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 elegiac afterthoughts. This is just brilliant literature.
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