Wednesday, June 16, 2010

REVIEW: Bonjour, Tristesse, by Françoise Sagan

Bonjour Tristesse, by Françoise Sagan. Published 2008 by HarperPerennial Modern Classics. Literary Fiction. Translation.

Bonjour Tristesse is one of those little cultural classics that everyone should probably read at some point, and luckily enough it's short, so a cup of coffee and a Gauloise will probably be enough to get you through the experience.

It's a coming of age story set amidst the privilege and wealth of the French Riveria; a young girl named Cécile is spending the summer with her father and his mistress, a Titian-haired demimondaine by the name of Elsa. He is also waiting on the arrival of another woman, Anne, his late wife's friend and now his.

The summer passes as Cécile et. al. play on the beaches and casinos of the Riveria, and Cécile entertains her own friend, Cyril. Games are played, rivalries develop, and the story ends with a tragedy right out of a soap opera.

A lot has been written about the influences of an on Bonjour Tristesse; some say it's an existentialist classic and others find it maudlin and dull. I'm probably in the latter camp. Even so, I think it's an essential read if for no other reason than to appreciate its echoes in modern literature. Every girl's coming-of-age story published since owes it something and it's well worth the time it takes to read.

The next time you're in a café and want to feel oh-so-Continental, you might give it a try. You've nothing to lose.

Rating: BORROW

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

9 comments:

Esme said...

I love this review-I enjoy coming of age books. I am going to search for this book immediately

Mystica said...

Thank you for this review. A really good one.

Mrs. B. said...

I enjoyed this too. I reviewed the book and the film here.

Brenna said...

Thanks for the great review. I'm going to put this on my TBR list.

booksslicedanddiced said...

Sounds like a book worth reading for the experience. I'll borrow it soon :)

Trisha said...

I do so enjoy feeling 'continental' so I'll have to give this one a try. :)

Zibilee said...

I had not heard of this book. Where have I been!?! It sounds that it might be the perfect read for vacation, and though it is a little maudlin, I do love coming of age stories, so I will be looking for it. Great review, Marie!!

jewwishes said...

I like your review, and totally agree with you, re the reading of this as a modern literary essential read.

Amanda said...

Ooh this looks interesting. Was it originally in French?