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Break of Day

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  364 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Colette began writing Break of Day in her early fifties, at Saint-Tropez on the Côte d'Azur, where she had bought a small house after the breakup of her second marriage. The novel's theme--the renunciation of love and the return to an independent existence supported and enriched by the beauty and peace of nature--grows out of Colette's own period of self-assessment in the ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published June 13th 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1928)
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May 09, 2008 Lydia rated it really liked it
Red, pink, blue, pimento, moths, cats, dogs, birds, sand, wind, sea, moon. This book is so full of incredible descriptions of our everyday world, its colors, its inhabitants, its smell and look and feel. These details make me want to open my eyes wider and to savor every experience. It makes me want to live more fully (not even sure what that would mean), to love more fully, to eat an omelette more fully...

It's about a woman at the age of fifty after her second divorce spending the summer in a F
Mar 04, 2008 Suzi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
colette is the most sensual writer I know ... after enjoying the youthful delights of the claudine series, cheri, the ripening seed, gigi, etc. in my 20's, it was wonderful to grow older with colette's mature appreciation of midlife ... it's independence, choices, self-realizations, wisdom, and quieter pleasures. this is the book i return to for a reminder of life's lessons ... her writing has more essence and earthiness than any other writer i have ever read, and has taught me the value and joy ...more
Lisa Taylor
Oct 20, 2016 Lisa Taylor rated it really liked it
I love reading books that are translated from another language to English. I also love reading books that speak of someone living a quiet, peaceful, authentic life in a little village. Break of Day is by French author Colette, translated to English and tells of either her life or based on her life as she lives in a little village in the Cote d'Azur in her later years.
I loved the writing which was lyrical, beautiful and a little like Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. I loved to live through her eyes
This is the first book I have read by Colette and I gather it is not regarded as her best. Published in 1928 when she was in her fifties and established in her fame, this has a poetical, stream of consciousness style, beautiful and original when applied to the landscape and climate of coastal Provence, to her passion for gardening and cats, but somewhat precious, at times tedious, when the theme is the nature of love, and her relationship with her mother.

There is a good deal of falsity here, alt
Dec 05, 2012 Charlie rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Between two and three stars. I'm starting to really like Colette; reading her feels like having a long conversation with a whimsical, observant friend, the sort of conversation you might have on that friend's back porch on a warm summer evening. Even so, the extensively-recorded struggles with Helene and Vial grew tiresome, making even the enjoyable parts drag a bit.
Aaron Kappel
Aug 31, 2014 Aaron Kappel rated it it was amazing
This novel, rich in layers, is filled with calculated beauty. If you prefer a more “traditional” plotline/story arc, then this isn’t for you. The subtext within these pages is not profound for profundity’s sake; it’s thoughtfully crafted and elegantly composed.
Mar 01, 2008 Juliann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I pretty much just love Colette, and this is my favorite thing she wrote. Maybe I related so well because I was having relationship problems when I read it, but I still find the writing lovely and insightful and empowering.
Jul 11, 2012 Karyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Lushly descriptive.
Feb 29, 2016 Beluosus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: français
Le style de ce roman m'a fait penser un peu à Marguerite Duras.
Agnes Fontana
Nov 22, 2012 Agnes Fontana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
On dirait que Colette a fait un bouquin avec les digressions charmantes dont elle agrémente ses romans le reste du temps... Souvenir poignants de sa mère, émoi devant les couleurs de la nature, la vie des animaux... sauf que là ce n'est pas le décor, c'est le livre. Une autre façon de présenter la naissance du jour, c'est de dire que c'est une version déstructurée de "la retraite sentimentale" : ah qu'il est bon, après une vie d'amours tumultueuses, de se retirer à la campagne, de découvrir les ...more
Sep 27, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it
Reading Break of Day for the second time, 11 years later, I liked it better. I had more patience for the appropriately laconic pacing and enjoyed the prose more. Whether it's because I'm older or was just in the mood for something unhurried, I can't say. It's like a soup that's been simmering on the stove all day... better for the time and care taken to reach its point.

My only complaint, such as it is, was with the last quarter or so, which felt tacked on. Her mediation on her mother fits with
Jul 17, 2013 Debby rated it really liked it

I really loved the poetic Zen like parts of this book about her mother, animals and garden etc. The only reason I didn't give it 5* was that I personally did not get the lengthy Vial sub plot. He seemed like a twit to me and Helene was fairly uninteresting as well. I know that Colette met 'the love of her life',
Maurice G, whilst living in this house. I hoped that Vial wasn't a fictionalized version of her great love!! He seemed so unworthy of her and of the book.
Aug 29, 2015 Sean rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016

3.5. Deducting a 1/2 star from an otherwise 4-star rating due to the occasionally tiresome descriptions of the thinly-disguised narrator's bourgeois (or is it bohemian, what with all these artist types...maybe it is Bobo) summer lifestyle in Provence. Also she acts way too old for someone in her late 40s. Otherwise it was enjoyable, with plenty of lush description of the natural world. And cats, lots of cats.
Oct 10, 2012 Ck rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Lyrical; delicately lush. Rather dull storyline (although I appreciate her frank honesty regarding love, loss, and the feminine) but glittering with beauty. I picked up an English translation at a used book store in Seattle; I'd like to try a hand at her works in the original French. The English is so lovely that the original French must be exquisite.
Apr 29, 2011 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"At no time has the catastrophe of love, in all its phases and consequences, formed a part of the true intimate life of a woman."

This quick read, about an aging woman happy with her current life, is full of vivid descriptions and beautiful little moments. I kept putting it down to make it last longer.
Aug 20, 2009 Kallie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets and writers
For some reason, I resist Colette as I resist all women with 'powerful' personalities. I must say, this is a compelling read and the poetic prose goes down well. I will be reading more Colette in future.
Jun 17, 2012 David rated it really liked it
This one was quieter than I expected, more reflective. The intellect in the musings is sharp, but the pacing is unhurried. Somehow, though I'm not sure why, it wasn't really what I was expecting from Colette. Either way, the quality of the writing cannot be debated.
Czarny Pies
May 26, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any graduate student doing advanced work on Colette
Recommended to Czarny by: I am a Colette fan and made this dreadful choice for a read on my own.
Shelves: french-lit
I hated it. This is a self-indulgent work of an elderly lady in the twilight years of her sexual career. I think Colette wrote many excellent books over a long and distinguished career but this little book is well worth passing over.
Dec 22, 2008 Michaela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, french
Hard to understand for my level of French, but after plodding through it I liked the pervading tone and the symbolism. Glad I read it for a class, though a second read taking the time to understand the words is in order.
Jan 20, 2008 feathers rated it liked it
dreamy, wandering, loving of plants and animals. sunlit with provencal beach heat and idiosyncratic summertime company. perfect for falling asleep inside of.
Jun 23, 2010 Kelli rated it liked it
Some amazing writing, but I felt a bit like I was in Lit class and missing some deep underlying meanings.
Gwendolyn Jerris
Feb 24, 2014 Gwendolyn Jerris rated it really liked it
i needed this, meditative. a way to slow down, and to move in and out gracefully, with subtlety. keeping all the lushness and richness and the sensuality.
Nose in a book (Kate)
Feb 09, 2012 Nose in a book (Kate) rated it really liked it
I am torn whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars because it is beautifully written but also very slow, even a slog.

My full review:
Jun 27, 2007 Jenny.p rated it liked it
Probably not her best, but a nice little story about rebirth and renewal (aka starting over after a life crisis), dinner parties and gardening in the South of France.
Jan 22, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing
More, more, more. Now I want to one day move back to the French Riviera, and live alone, with some animals, and a view of the sea and sunshine, every day.
Amanda Byrne
Nov 12, 2012 Amanda Byrne rated it really liked it
I think this quote pretty much sums up the beauty of Colette's writing: "For to dream, and then to return to reality, only means that our scruples suffer a change of place and significance."
the writing is just gorgeous, but i can't keep reading this because it makes me think about my parents dying. some day, it will be the right time to take this up again.
Mar 06, 2013 Catalina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful poem, an ode to her mother, nature, love as a platonic sentiment, her life as a mature, older women!
Toujours cette écriture et cette sensibilité que j'admire. L'ensemble m'a toutefois paru tiède comparativement à d'autres oeuvres de la même auteure.
Alex rated it really liked it
Jan 29, 2013
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Colette was the pen name of the French novelist and actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novella Gigi, which provided the plot for a famous Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical. She started her writing career penning the influential Claudine novels of books. The novel Chéri is often cited as her masterpiece.
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“Love is not an honorable sentiment” 7 likes
“Il peggio nella vita di una donna: il primo uomo. Si muore soltanto di quello, dopo di che la vita coniugale- o la sua contrffazione- diventa una carriera. Una carriera, burocratica a volte, da cui nulla ci distrae nè ci solleva tranne il gioco di equilibri che, a tempo debito, spinge il vecchio verso la giovincella e Chè ri verso Lèa.” 1 likes
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