Set against the translucent beauty of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesse is a bittersweet tale narrated by Cécile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences.
Freed from boarding school, Cécile lives in unchecked enjoyment with her youngish, widowed father an affectionate rogue, dissolute and promiscuous. Having accepted the constantly changing women in his life, Cécile pursues a sexual conquest of her own with a "tall and almost beautiful" law student. Then, a new woman appears in her father's life. Feeling threatened but empowered, Cécile sets in motion a devastating plan that claims a surprising victim.
Deceptively simple in structure, Bonjour Tristesse is a complex and beautifully composed portrait of casual amorality and a young woman's desperate attempt to understand and control the world around her.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||4.32(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.42(d)|
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have rarely been so engrossed in a book as I was reading 'Bonjour Tristesse.' Although it was full of sorrow, it was very beautiful and bitingly realistic. It felt great empathy and even inspiration.
This is one of those "I can't believe I didn't read it when I was 16" books. Reading it as an adult, far too late, I had to admire the maturity of Sagan's insight into the characters, but I don't think it had the magic for me that it evidently has for many readers. What did strike me about it was what a long time ago it all was, and what a privileged social class is involved. The teenage narrator never stops for a moment to wonder how it is that she is able to spend months lolling on the beach and pretending to revise for exams. Raymond is in advertising, but he seems to be able to stop work for the whole summer without any difficulty; we don't see any poor people at all, unless you count Elsa, who has no visible means of support, but still manages to get by for a few weeks (in Cannes!) when Raymond dumps her. I don't think many people in Europe were in such a comfortable position in the early fifties (my mother had been in full-time work for several years when she was Cécile's age). All right for some...
The love affairs of adults through the eyes of spoiled, smart and wily Cecile as she embarks upon her first affair. Her playboy father inexplicably decides to settle down with a woman his own age, a friend of Cecile's late mother. Anne is elegant, sophisticated, reserved and a bit of a control freak. Cecile and her father live a life of carefree pleasure that Anne threatens, and Anne's efforts to mold Cecile into a more serious young woman are ill-advised and resented. Cecile devises a plan to rid herself and her father of this woman. In lovely language, Sagan describes the psychological tug-of-war that takes place between Anne and Cecile as well as the affection between father and daughter and Cecile's first love affair, all on the sands and in the water of the French Riviera. A very good first novel. I will read Sagan again.
If you have to come of age, and we all do, you might as well do it on the French Riveria.
The plot is a bit cliche', and the emotions stream quite chaotic. I totally agree with what NYTimes said "ACCORDING to most of the book reviewers. Françoise Sagan's "Bonjour Tristesse" was an immature little novel, mainly a catalogue of moods experienced under the strain of a father-complex by a fairly precocious French girl. As a noticeable literary effort, it was somewhat astonishing but thin."