Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan

Bonjour Tristesse cover

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan was first published in 1954 but my copy is from 1955 when it was published in English, translated by Irene Ash. It’s a slim volume with just 132 pages. It was published when she was just 20 years old and had dropped out of the Sorbonne. The book is written in the first person.

This is a very simple tale, but it’s beautifully written. Cecile is just 17 and since her mother died when Cecile was only two she has had her father to herself. He’s now 40 years old and is described as being an attractive, pleasant and sophisticated hedonist, and he’s rich. His hobby seems to be falling in love with very much younger women, but he tires of them within a few months and Cecile is quite happy with that situation, she knows none of his women are going to be a threat to her relationship with him. Cecile is conducting her own holiday affair with Cyril, a young student.

Her father has rented a large white villa in the Mediterranean for the summer and he and Cecile are accompanied by his current girlfriend the red-haired Elsa which Cecile is happy about but when she discovers that her father has also invited Anne, the woman who had been her mother’s best friend she’s upset by the prospect of them all being together. Anne is 42, elegant and a successful fashion designer. Cecile should feel gratitude towards Anne as she had taken her in hand when she was at an awkward stage in her development and was suffering from a lack of motherly advice on clothes and such.

Cecile immediately sees Anne as an enemy although that isn’t immediately obvious, but when Anne begins to throw her weight about it’s obvious that things aren’t going to turn out well.

I really liked this one which I read for the 2019 European Reading Challenge which is hosted by Rose City Reader.

And also for the Classics Club