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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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The Vagabond Paperback – September 5, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The paradoxes of great literature are those of human nature, and Colette is nothing if not human . . . Accessible and elusive; greedy and austere; courageous and timid; subversive and complacent; scorchingly honest and sublimely mendacious; an inspired consoler and an existential pessimist--these are the qualities of the artist and the woman. Its is time to rediscover them." --From the Introduction

"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

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2nd edition (September 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528041
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Colette's beginning as a writer is one of the strangest in literature. In her early 20s, she married a no-talent hack named "Willy" (that was how he signed his pieces) and wrote a series of novels about a young girl named Claudine. Willy took these pieces and published them under his pen name, giving his young wife no credit.

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.
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By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
Gigi may be the best known of her works, but 'The Vagabond' stands out in pure beauty from the rest. The plot (an actress on the stage who faces public scorn and problems in love) seems to be most autobiographical, and narrator and main character, Renee Nere, is a delight. Both beautiful and painful in spots, this book deserves to be read, as well as its sequel, 'The Shackle.'
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Format: Paperback
The Vagabond was my first delicious introduction to Colette, and the first book to make me weep openly. I related strongly to Renée, a professional woman who clung desperately to her independence while falling hopelessly for a man who relentlessly tugged at her vulnerability. Renée's confusion about whether love and happiness could coexist kept me captive in suspense until the very last (and infinitely satisfying) page.
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By A Customer on February 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Colette's Renee Nere is complex, her name alone tells us that (the last name is the first name spelled backwards, not to mentioned that Renee means "reborn"). This female protagonist would certainly fit in with the modern notion of being female, and in the early 20th century, this was not only rare, but not very-well understood. I adore this book because of the way it encourages women (by example) to carve out their own existence and not to rely upon men for security. It is also wonderfully written. However, you'll be in for a shocker if you read the sequel, "The Shackle".
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Format: Paperback
This was my first reading of Colette. What a poetic, beautiful, and amazing writer she was. In this novel, we meet a woman who is definitely revolutionary for her time and ours. Colette is aware of the sorrow and happiness that are intertwined in life. The main character's life follows a path that has much loneliness and doubt, but she, most importantly, has her will. This is truly a feminist classic. What I admire most is the courage to write such a work and to write it so well. The language is intoxicating.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Full disclosure. Colette is one of my favorite authors. I tend to read and re-read all her books. That's why I was thrilled to see Vagabond on Kindle and I immediately ordered it. I was not disappointed. Colette writes with in a unique style, almost a flourish. You can almost see her ink pen on paper. Because she wrote in early 20th Century, she probably did write with pen and ink.

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.
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