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Bonjour Tristesse AND A Certain Smile by…
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Bonjour Tristesse AND A Certain Smile

by Françoise Sagan

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All I can say is: Wow. I picked this up a few hours ago as something to read while I waited for the bus and was completely unable to put it down and finished it within a few hours. Smoothly written, a chilling but satirical tale of a daughter and father. When Celine's father decides to remarry, there are consequences. I can't believe that Sagan was only 19 when this was published and I will be looking for more of her work. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
Françoise Sagan become an overnight sensation in 1954 which the publication of her first novel Bonjour Tristesse. At the age of 18, she published the novel she will be remembered for; the story of Cécile, a seventeen year old living with her widowed father and his mistress on the French Riviera. During an uneventful summer, an old friend of her late mother comes and stirs the peaceful balance of their summer villa.

Not knowing much about Françoise Sagan, I could not determine just how autobiographical Bonjour Tristesse might have been. I do know that Sagan, much like Cécile was kicked out of school and both enjoyed the bourgeois lifestyle. Sagan is a pseudonym (real name Françoise Quoirez) that was taken from the character Princesse de Sagan from Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perd (In Search of Lost Time). I expect that much of this novel is semi-autobiographical because she managed to perfectly capture the narcissism, emotions and angst of teenage life.

In 1955, a censored translation of Bonjour Tristesse hit the shelves for English speaking readers. It was only recently with Heather Lloyd’s translation that we able to enjoy an uncensored edition. Not that there was much of a reference to sex in the novel anyway. This new translation also packaged Françoise Sagan’s second novel, A Certain Smile into the one book. A novel about Dominique, who bored with her lover, starts an affair with a much older married man.

I found that Françoise Sagan likes to play with ideas of morality and pleasure, while also exploring just how problematic a wealthy and carefree life can be. She likes to look at the disillusionment of the bourgeois characters and explore the emotions that she must have been facing herself. In a lot of ways, I tend to associate the angsty style of Sagan with The Sorrows of Young Werther. Françoise Sagan and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe both managed to capture the intensity of emotions in their novels that I have not experienced in more recent books.

Bonjour Tristesse is a stronger novel than A Certain Smile, but I think both books are worth experiencing. I feel like Bonjour Tristesse had a depth that was not found in A Certain Smile. Both come in at about 120 pages each and A Certain Smile might have benefited with more pages, to fill in the plot and characters a lot more. I enjoy the style of Françoise Sagan and I hope to get a chance to read a few more of her other novels. I wonder what age and life experience does to her writing style.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/book-reviews/genre/classic/bonjour-tristesse-by-fra... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 2, 2015 |
Light yet sophisticated novel on the lives of French boheme from the 60's, I enjoyed it immensely! ( )
  collectorofmemories | Aug 25, 2015 |
Cheated a bit with this book: Bonjour Tristesse (the French edition) was to be read for French literature class. I read the Dutch version. (Don't tell anyone!!)
Together with that book, there was also another book in this omnibus, that I read as bonus / out of a feeling of guilt for cheating. Liked both books then, although I 'm not sure how I would feel about them when reading them now for the first time or even rereading. So I guess I just won't. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Jun 20, 2013 |
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Adieu tristesse
Bonjour tristesse
Tu es inscrite dans les lignes du plafond
Tu es inscrite dans les yeux que j'aime
Tu n'es pas tout à fait la misère
Car les lèvres les plus pauvres te dénoncent
Par un sourire
Bonjour tristesse
Amour des corps aimables
Puissance de l'amour
Dont l'amabilité surgit
Comme un monstre sans corps
Téte désappointée
Tristesse beau visage
- Paul Eluard, La vie immédiate -
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Ik aarzel om het onbekende gevoel, waarvan de tederheid en de verveling mij vervolgen, de naam, de mooie, diepe naam van 'droefheid' te geven.
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ROMANCE. Published when she was only nineteen, Francoise Sagan's astonishing first novel "Bonjour Tristesse" became an instant bestseller. It tells the story of Cecile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry - with devastating consequences. In "A Certain Smile" Dominique, a young woman bored with her lover, begins an encounter with an older man that unfolds in unexpected and troubling ways. These two acerbically witty and delightfully amoral tales about the nature of love are shimmering masterpieces of cool-headed, brilliant observation.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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