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Chéri (Chéri #1)

3.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,347 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Léa de Lonval is an aging courtesan, a once famous beauty facing the end of her sexual career. She is also facing the end of her most intense love affair, with Fred Peloux—known as Chéri—a playboy half her age. But neither lover under-stands how deeply they are attached, or how much life they will give up by parting ways.
Paperback, Large Print, 130 pages
Published October 11th 2007 by BiblioBazaar (first published 1920)
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Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

From BBC Radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama:
Colette's tale of a love affair between a courtesan and a man half her age, set in Paris before WWI.

1/5. After a six-year affair, Cheri announces to Lea he is about to enter into an arranged marriage.

2/5. Lea has to face the harsh reality of her young lover Cheri's marriage to another woman.

3/5. Cheri returns from honeymoon dissatisfied, yearning to know where Lea has fled.

4/5. Lea has returned to Paris, lonely and y
Feb 11, 2014 Nigeyb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in readiness for a group discussion. There are lots of positive reviews around so clearly many readers have found much to enjoy. I found nothing to enjoy, indeed I thought it was one of the worst books I have ever read and give it one star - a rating I have never used before.

The basic plot is very straightforward (and, as it was on cover of my edition, I don't think the story is meant to be the point): 25 year old Chéri (real name Fred), the son of a wealthy courtesan, has been
Feb 10, 2015 Margarida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilhante. Uma bela cortesã de quarenta e nove anos, Leónie Vallon, Léa de Lonval, deixa-se conquistar por Fred, Chéri, um jovem de vinte e cinco anos, mimado, petulante e infantil, e ele entrega-se sem tréguas a esta experiente mulher. No entanto, ela continua uma mulher independente, de personalidade forte e segura, até que o casamento por interesse dele coloca um ponto final na relação.
Paixão, sedução e volúpia pairam neste pequeno romance fascinante, numa excelente tradução de José Saramago.
Mina Soare
With stunning prose, engrossing descriptions and spectacular character depictions, Collette outdid herself. The level of significance in every detail makes every scene even more expressive for the relationship between setting, society and character marking this a realist balzacian novel.

Now, despite the numerous modern elements, the title drawing attention to the enigma of one character being the most conspicuous, I don't like neither the realism nor the ending so there goes one star.

Jul 30, 2011 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What to make of a "love story" between a woman of 50 and a young man half her age? She is attracted to him because of his youth, his good looks, his easy-going ways. She appeals to him for her sophistication, both in her looks on which she expends enormous energy, and her exquisite taste in food and entertainment. But he, the "Cheri" of the title, marries a woman his own age, it being an appropriate thing to do, and the older woman (Lea) goes off on an extended vacation to try to forget her los ...more
Apr 15, 2014 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Colette fans
Recommended to Wayne by: Colette, of course!!

A wonderful look at the cultural trappings that every society brings to the most natural and urgent of natural instincts - consequently and ironically well and truly "fucking" it up for just about everybody.

I enjoyed "Gigi" and "Cheri" once I'd got my head around the sexual culture of certain segments of French Society of the Fin de Siecle.
The Loneliness and yet High Social Profile of the Courtesan is well and truly captured by Colette. Its ironies, possibilities of great wealth,its pitfalls,its
Apr 02, 2016 Susanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france
"Chéri" habe ich zum erstenmal als Film gesehen. Ich wusste damals nicht, dass er auf dem Roman von Colette basiert, mich hat in erster Linie die Fin-de-Siècle-Atmosphäre mit den wunderschönen Kostümen auf dem DVD-Cover angesprochen. Der Film hat mir übrigens sehr gut gefallen (mit Michelle Pfeiffer als Léa) und als dann die Bücher für wenig Geld zu haben waren, habe ich zugegriffen.
Léa ist eine Pariser Halbweltdame, inzwischen fast 50 Jahre alt und mit dem 25-jährigen Chéri, dem verwöhnten, ob
Cheri by Colette, centers around Lea and Cheri and their six year love affair. Respectfully 49 and 25 at the novels opening, both believe that their relationship to be casual until Cheri is to be married and realize that they were in fact in love. After Cheri's marriage they are separated for six months due to Lea's inability to cope with the new revelations. When she at last returns Cheri visits, they have one last romp in the sheets and the next morning while Lea plans their future together, C ...more
Jean-Paul Walshaw-Sauter
However much has been written about Colette's "Chèri" and despite all the praises sung about Colette's work by the likes of Marcel Proust, André Gide, Cocteau, Simenon and de Beauvoir, I was sceptical about this book, which told the story of an aging courtesan's relationship with a younger man of striking beauty and his impending marriage to a younger woman. There was no need for scepticism! "Chéri" is a psychological masterpiece and its language with all its changing colours and shades of light ...more
I think this was the wrong book for me at this time. However, it would never be a favorite as I found the pace too slow. Colette gives beautifully written descriptions so I can understand why some would appreciate her writing more than I did.

As for the plot, I could relate to Léa (as I am also a woman of a certain age) but Chéri struck me as a lout and so I couldn't really understand his appeal.
Ana Maria Rînceanu
O poveste de dragoste plină de melancolie, fericire şi suferinţă, care ţi se înfige în suflet în ciuda faptului că nu îţi poate oferi iluzia unui final de basm.
Jun 20, 2015 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As a story, there wasn't a lot to this—an aging, but still lovely courtesan has a six-year affair with a selfish young man. The affair ends when he marries. They both suffer.
BUT there was a lot more to it than that.
Colette's writing is beautiful (in French anyway, I don't know how her language translates). In all her work, the natural world--trees, flowers, skies—is lovingly described. Reading her, I can practically smell the rain on the pavement or imagine the greenery in the Bois de Boulogne.

What a frustrating book. It isn't badly written, but only if it were written quite differently would I really enjoy it.

Chéri and Léa are difficult, unsympathetic characters - but this is a type I often find interesting to read about. Books can show such people's underlying thoughts and feelings, and the events that made them so disagreeable: they can make them sympathetic and understandable if you are reasonably open-minded.

But we hear nothing of Chéri's inner life, and in writing alone ther
Marta Traverso
Vi è mai capitato di caricare un libro di aspettative, per poi rendervi conto che è qualcosa di radicalmente diverso da ciò che pensavate?

Con Cheri mi è successo più o meno questo. Definito un capolavoro da tutte le direzioni, ho divorato il romanzo più celebre di Colette in un paio di giorni (sono poco più di 100 pagine). Cheri ti entra dentro come un fulmine, tanto è rapida la scrittura: inizia con una scena che sta volgendo al termine, finisce con una scena rimasta in sospeso.

Lui, lei, la dif
Publié en 1920.

Thème: l'amour entre une femme âgée et un jeune amant. Thème très d'actualité sociale alors que nos journaux décrivent les couguars.

Le roman est étrangement prémonitoire dans la vie de l'auteure. En effet, Colette, alors qu'elle venait de divorcer de son deuxième mari, eut une affaire avec le fils de ce dernier. Colette avait alors 50 ans et le garçon 19 ans. Vengeance ou vraiment amour ? Peut-être un peu des deux. Chéri a toutefois été publié avant l'affaire.

L'histoire est celle
Aug 04, 2011 Rainbowgirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, romance, favourites
Voici un livre que j'ai dévoré avec un émoi que je ressens trop rarement. J'ai été séduite par le style, léger et beau, par le raffinement des bijoux, des meubles, des vêtements, la grâce des personnages, l'humour discret mais non moins mordant, comme un rire sous cape, l'étrangeté de la situation où l'amour des amants ressemble à celui d'une mère et de son enfant, les jeux de la séduction, la subtilité des émotions qu'on n'admet pas, et surtout le personnage de Léa, un personnage tragique qui s ...more
Sep 26, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, french
Another hauntingly beautiful but imperfect love story about what happens when the young boyfriend of an older courtesan starts to grow up and lead a life of his own, when he could so easily remain in the arms of his "perverted mother" as she calls herself. I'm starting to see a common theme among Colette's writings. I only recently finished reading The Vagabond, in which a woman has to choose between maintaining her identity and career or to be swept away from her responsibilities into a second ...more
This is my fifth Colette book and I enjoy her stories. Cheri is the story of a privileged and wealthy young Frenchman living with a wealthy courtesan (Lea). She is much older, 50 vs 25, and when Cheri marries a young woman, Lea realizes that she loves him and he is gone forever. It's a little more involved but that's the gist of the story. It's well written but not exceptional. 3.5 stars.
Maria Grazia
Apr 04, 2016 Maria Grazia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una storia del demì monde di inizio novevento, personaggi che non esistono più come le grandi cortigiane in grado di attirare anche in tarda età amori e patrimoni, a volte lasciandoci il cuore, ma senza mai farne un dramma.
Libro molto ben scritto, ma un po' lontano dalla mia sensibilità.
Colette merită o discuţie fie şi numai pentru personajul care ea însăşi a fost, nemaipunîndu-le la socoteală pe cele pe care le-a pus pe hîrtie, transferîndu-le carne şi sînge din lumea boemei artistice, habitatul ei. În Chéri (sau Curtezana, cum preferaţi), face cîteva lucruri care ţin de flerul unui adevărat povestitor : transformă, cu o intuiţie psihologică subtilă şi precisă, un subiect aproape banal (legătura dintre o cocotă şi un fante mult mai tînăr, şi drama rupturii dintre ei), plasat î ...more
Molly Ringle
May 17, 2014 Molly Ringle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the heftier or at least longer books I've been reading, this one flew by and was as easy to get through as nibbling your way through a chocolate-filled croissant. So elegant, so French, so subtle, yet full of life! One of those stories of a past era that brings the time alive for me, with all its scents and fashions and quirky people. Although I'll probably never live with servants and dress in silk gowns (though if I'm lucky I'll spend at least a few days and nights in Paris someday), I d ...more
Collette writes what I consider to be dull drivel. I guess it was sexy for its time, but the dialogue sounds so lethargic and stilted to me. Who cares about these characters? I certainly don't.
Jun 13, 2015 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, Colette.

I read this book in one sitting. It was a masterpiece.

I loved that it was really sensual and was very poetic and really absorbing. I loved the details of this book and the atmosphere was all built so delicately and carefully. I loved that it lingered with me, that it left me feeling a little bit heady.

This book doesn't really have a plot, it has two main characters who interact with each other and drive the narrative forward, so if you're looking for something fast-paced or plot-dr
Oct 22, 2014 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
C1920. FWFTB: courtesan, Paris, mistress, spoilt, darling
Late to the party with this one. In trying to catch up with some earlier books, this book was on all the lists!Its a thin book and the first line, “Give it me, Lea, give me your pearl necklace.” sets the character and the tone of the book from the very start.One of the few authors that I know or have read that have a single name – rather like some pop stars. I think that the cover of the edition that I read is one of the ugliest I have com
Jan 14, 2012 Deanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Short and sweet tale of a young, spoilt, rich young man and the end of his affair with a woman 24 years his senior.
Lydia Bates
After reading the first four Claudine novels, I was ready to sink my teeth into some more of Colette's work. As always, her writing style was beautiful. However, as this book began to be more and more about Cheri complaining, I began to lose interest. The scandal of the aging beauty having an affair with a young man wore off over time, and the description was the only thing that really pulled me through the book. It was hard to read something where I didn't really relate to any of the characters ...more
They should give you a "didn't finish" option.
Dec 20, 2015 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: byt-by-year
Cheri is young, beautiful, not very intelligent, obsessed with clothes, jewellery and looking good, kept by his older lover, selfish, narcissistic, sometimes cruel, self indulgent and male.
For all his life he has been spoilt by his mother and for the last five years indulged by his lover, so perhaps it is not entirely his fault. In this book we follow both Cheri and Lea, his lover. Our sympathies are mainly with Lea.
(view spoiler)
Jun 26, 2013 Tess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chéri est un très beau livre. L'histoire n'est pas très complexe. J'adore le thème et l'histoire d'une amour d'un jeune homme et une vieille femme. Colette écrit très très bien, les émotions et actions sont excellentes.
Quelquefois le livre est un peu ennuyeux.
Je le donne quatre de cinq étoiles ****, parce que la fin est vraiment parfaite! (Ce n'est pas un «happy ending»). Magnifique. Je veux lire le deuxième livre La Fin de Chéri et veux voire le film de 2009.

J'aime ces phrases du livre:

“Ja, d
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Bright Young Things: March 2014- Cheri by Colette 16 26 Mar 16, 2014 12:50AM  
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Colette was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novel Gigi, which provided the plot for a Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical.
More about Colette...

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Chéri (2 books)
  • The Last of Cheri

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“I love my past. I love my present. I'm not ashamed of what I've had, and I'm not sad because I have it no longer.” 109 likes
“They looked at each other in open hostility—she, leaning on her elbow in a flurry of frills and lace; he, sitting side-saddle on the edge of the bed. He was thinking ‘Who’s she to talk of any wrinkles I may have one day?’ and she ‘Why is he so ugly when he laughs?—he who’s the very picture of beauty!’ She thought for a moment, then finished aloud: “It’s because you look so ill-natured when you’re joking. You never laugh except unkindly—ᴀᴛ people, and that makes you ugly. You’re often ugly.” 3 likes
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