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The Vagabond Paperback – September 5, 2001
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"The Vagabond, one of the first and best feminist novels ever written, is that rare thing: a great book which is also inspiring." --Erica Jong
Original Language: French
Top Customer Reviews
In her early to mid 30s, Colette grew weary of Willy, and turned her back on him to embark on a career as a dance hall performer. This is the setting for THE VAGABOND, Colette's first post-Willy novel, and the first to bear her own name.
The main character, Renee Nere, has been touring for 3 years, and although she's sometimes lonely, is enjoying her freedom and self-sufficiency. She's also suffering from what we'd refer to nowadays as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Her marriage to her philandering and abusive husband was so wretched, that when she meets another man who loves her, the slighest familiar gesture or word will trigger memories that incite revulsion.
THE VAGABOND is a gem of a novel that beautifully shows off Colette's gift for prose as well as her wonderful descriptions of life backstage as part of a touring group. If that isn't enough, she is also very gifted at revealing the psychological insights of her character. The introduction by Judith Thurman is well-done, and both the introduction and the novel left me wanting more Colette.
This book is about a young woman's struggle for independence. Considering this book was published originally in 1910, that's an amazing theme. The woman in question is Renee and the setting is France. All of Colette's books are set in France. Renee is a vaudeville dancer. When we meet her, she is about to go on stage. We learn of her work as well as meet her fellow vaudevillians. We also learn that she's a very lonely woman. Her rakish husband ran off with another woman, leaving Renee broken and alone. Renee has friends but they spend time together talking about their misadventures in love. Renee had been a successful writer, but she gave that up when her husband left her. She gave up many things.
This book mirrors Colette's life. She, too, enjoyed the world of acting. I'm not sure she was a dancer, but she loved the stage and the people who performed on the stage. Nonetheless, actors were looked down upon in Colette's day. Colette also struggled with independence. She married and divorced and later lived with a woman. Although she had one child, she led the life of an independent woman who had a very successful writing career in her day.
The Renee in Colette's book meets a man who has money and is desperately in love with her. At first she rejects him as a "Big Ninny." She thinks all men are unreliable--like her ex-husband.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I went to read my book for class and i just noticed that it is missing over 25 pages. The pages are cut in half and barely bound in incorrect section. They are unreadable. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chloe J.
I am somewhat disappointed by Colette's novel, "The Vagabond." It has been sitting on my shelf in my bedroom for a couple of years so I took the book on a recent trip. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Sylviastel
Long before Cher and Madonna thought they invented “first names only,” there was Colette (1873-1954). Read morePublished 11 months ago by James W. Fonseca
I've liked Colette for a long time, and I am rereading The Vagabond and enjoying it more than ever.
Stanley Applebaum points out in the excellent introduction that... Read more
This was the first book I ever read by the inimitable Colette. She is regarded by many French people as one of the truly great writers and this book shows why. Read morePublished on March 15, 2013 by M. Smith
Tedious narration of an actress' life and thoughts.
I'm always curious about great writers of the past, and I wanted to try some of Colette's works. Read more
somewhat slow moving & sad. the story was o.k. the writing was good. the direction the story went was pretty predictable.Published on December 20, 2012 by Debra Tufford
I wish I'd read this when I was 17 -- for the Gallic wit, for the "milk and macaroni" existence of music hall performers, and for the skepticism about young men in love. Read morePublished on March 28, 2012 by Karl Stull