Bonjour Tristesse & A Certain Smile
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Bonjour Tristesse & A Certain Smile

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  31 reviews
Published when she was only nineteen, Françoise Sagan's astonishing first novel Bonjour Tristesse became an instant bestseller. It tells the story of Cécile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry - with devastating consequences. In A Certain Smile Dominique, a young woman bored...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published January 5th 2009 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1956)
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Contrary to the last book I read, as part of my "Classics" experiment (Paul Auster's "New York Trilogy"), I'm sure as hell glad I picked this one up!

Francoise Sagan's first two novels have proved short, sweet and to the point ~ making the couple of days (on/off) it took me to read them highly enjoyable and utterly worthwhile.

Amongst beautiful landscapes and fascinating, highly complex characters, Sagan weaves two searing, deliciously "French" tales of love, passion, jealousy and betrayal. One s...more
Sigh. Oh, Bonjour Tristesse - why do you have to only be one hundred and nine pages? It's so unfair.

I took as long as I possibly could to read this novel. For a few days, Bonjour Tristesse became my world. And what a world...

Bonjour Tristesse is the perfect literary holiday. It's that rare bird; a novel you can escape into, that will also keep you thinking. Okay, so the novel's not without tragedy - it's called Bonjour Tristesse, after all - but really, who can resist a twisted love story?

(Or i...more
Vanessa Wu
These two novellas are nice and short. They are very beautifully written. You might not like the narrator but she knows what she's about. Bonjour Tristesse is deservedly very famous but its immediate impact on French society was because of its immorality. Actually I think the book has depth. The introduction to this edition by Rachel Cusk is very illuminating and sensitive. But, I don't know, I think there is still more to this book than Rachel Cusk allows. It has a certain sensual quality that...more
Nicole Garton
On my plane ride home from Paris, I found a great fiction book (which I seldom do) at the London airport. I read the whole thing on my flight home and instantly fell in love! It's a collection of two short novels by Françoise Sagan - Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile. They were written in the early 50s by a young, French girl who failed out of the Sarbonne. Lots of interesting themes - and I'm jealous I didn't write it! She's called the French F. Scott Fitzgerald... only it very much reminde...more
Two novels in this edition, written by the young and insightful teenager from 1950s French society, Francoise Sagan.... initial impressions have "chick-lit" in the frame, but after due consideration, this is provocative stuff from one so young... I have to admire her insight and ability to convey the emotions of lust, jealousy and unrequited love, though this is surely semi-autobiographical in nature... recommended to be devoured in an afternoon.
Beautiful. I need to get my hands on the original french versions.

Bonjour Tristesse

“I forgot there are are times in life when nothing happens and when things don’t cohere.” (16)

“I plunged my face into the water to cool it down and regain my composure. The water was emerald. I was filled with a sense of perfect happiness and freedom from care.” (19)

“Then came the coolness of salt water. We were laughing together, dazzled, languid, grateful.” (74)

“I pushed back my sheets, took off my pajama...more
This is a collection of two early novels by Francoise Sagan, both published in the 1950s when the author was very young. *Bonjour Tristesse* was Sagan's first novel and it's far and away the best of the pair, not necessarily because it's better written, more insightful or more real, but simply because the story is more engaging and less self-indulgent. There's a sweetness about the scenario and the characters that somehow never turns sour, despite the dark conclusion to the tale. The main charac...more
Daniel Simmons
"We were laughing together, dazzled, languid, grateful. We had sun and sea, laughter and love. Would we ever experience them again as we did that summer, with all the vividness and intensity lent to them by fear and remorse?" That sudden shift -- from laughter and love to fear and remorse -- is characteristic of this novel. I'm sure I'm not the first (or perhaps even the thousandth) person to think that this book feels like a cross between Albert Camus and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Good stuff.
Oct 25, 2010 Gail added it
"My love of pleasure seems to be the only coherent side of my character. Perhaps it is because I have not read enough?"

Bonjour Tristesse, 25.

"We had spent the afternoon in a cafe in the Rue Saint-Jacques, a spring afternoon like any other. I was slightly bored, and walked up and down between the juke-box and the window, while Bertrand talked about Spire's lecture. I was leaning on the machine, watching the record rising slowly, almost gently, like a proffered cheek, to it slanting position again...more
Mark McKenny
Preferred 'A Certain Smile.' Both good books to be reading whilst on holiday, but not much more. Huge credit to Françoise who was just 18 when these are published.
What a BRILLIANT book!!! It is soooo easy and fun to read! It's like a light trace of perfume, which still hangs in the air after leaving its mistress, but quickly dissolves and disappears, leaving a vague feeling of emptiness.

Françoise Sagan wrote it when she was nineteen years old. It is amazing how such a young person was capable to feel the world so subtly and so keenly . And with all the details and sharpness of sense to keep a soft kindness while speaking of this world.

Personally, in her...more
Apparently F Sagan wrote this when she was but a slip of a girl and it caused a lot of scandal/publicity at the time - so much so that she never really eclipsed Bonjour Tristesse's fame. A teenager and her father live a shallow,vapid life of pampered rich people in the sun. Her Father's plans to marry a rather serious friend might make life difficult for our anti-heroine so a cunning plan is hatched so break the pair up. It's cunning and cruel and it wont end happily.
Well written and an easy rea...more
Dan Mathews
sagan's writing is never too intoxicating but like cheap rose wine it's pretty engaging after a while. the light, breezy outlook of the protagonists in bonjour tristesse is mirrored by the narrator despite allusions to depth it's youthful +sumptuous and much more comfortable with rapid descriptions of rapture and bliss than dealing with the ridiculousness of melancholy.

i much prefer a certain smile (bonjour tristesse is app'ntly the famous one). the detail is more complete and the unreliable nar...more
I enjoyed A Certain Smile more than Bonjour Tristesse, even though it seems the latter is one that Sagan is famed for. The pain of a failed love affair is captured beautifully, the pain - real sickness - and then how it passes. I loved the last few lines.
Both of them though were just too self-indulgent. Written by a teenager, about a teenager, perhaps I should be a bit more forgiving, but that endless introspection bored me after a while.
Cass -  Words on Paper
Another AbeBooks buy. I found out about Bonjour Tristesse a month ago and my interest in it was multifaceted - French lit, New Adult-y, 'classic' (50s) - so it was only a matter of time before I indulged myself in a copy. This one also has A Certain Smile. Both are TINY at only around 100~ pages each.
Miss Wednesday
I liked the atmosphee created in this book and asI listened to the audio version I thnik I felt it even stronger. I suspected that I might not really like it though and I was right. I felt almost as indifferent about the story as the characters feel about the consequences ot their actions.
I read 'A Certain Smile' within 24 hours and loved it! Sagan's first novel - Bonjour Tristesse - proved to be simple yet complicated. I love her writing style. From the moment you will start reading both books, you will not be able to stop - or think about them!
Cecilia Rydberg
A well-written summer tale.
Kendall Sicnolf
This short story describes a bit of a fantasy world in the south of France, but with very unconventional relationships; the father-daughter one was especially a stretch for me, but it was a quick, entertaining summer read
Clare Mcsheaffrey
Enjoyed both these stories. I was intrigued how the author managed to capture the naïve but manipulative mind of a spoiled teenage girl so well until I realised the author herself was only 18 when Bonjour Tristesse was published.
To be so wise and insightful at her young age when she wrote these novels is amazing. They reminded me of the angst, delight, and traumas I experienced in my late teens and early 20s.
May 31, 2013 Florence rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Florence by: Beth Lambert
Shelves: favourites
These stories have made me want to go to the French Riviera, take up smoking and have affairs with older men. Both were beautifully written, and wonderfully evocative.
I love Françoise Sagan. It amazes me that she wrote Bonjour Tristesse at such a young age. I liked both of these stories very much. Her style is fantastic.
Reuben Heller
Shades of Anais Nin in these two sultry, very French tales from this precocious writer - only eighteen when the first novella was published in '54.
I read this in French when I studied it at a level. Really should re-read it in translation as I suspect I'd enjoy it more.
Deliciously French. Good read for a sunny summer afternoon.
My copy only had Bonjour Tristesse, not the other title.
Two little diddies about Jacque and Diane.
I love Francoise...
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Born Françoise Quoirez, she grew up in a French, Catholic, bourgeois family. She was an independent thinker and avid reader as a young girl, and upon failing her examinations for continuing at the Sorbonne, she became a writer.

She went to her family's home in the south of France and wrote her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, at age 18. She submitted it to Editions Juillard in January 1954 and it...more
More about Françoise Sagan...
Bonjour Tristesse Aimez-vous Brahms? A Certain Smile Sunlight on Cold Water Wonderful Clouds

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