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That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)
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That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  202 ratings  ·  29 reviews
That Mad Ache, set in high-society Paris in the mid-1960’s, recounts the emotional battle unleashed in the heart of Lucile, a sensitive but rootless young woman who finds herself caught between her carefree, tranquil love for 50-year-old Charles, a gentle, reflective, and well-off businessman, and her sudden wild passion for 30-year-old Antoine, a hot-blooded, impulsive, a ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published May 11th 2009 by Basic Books (first published 1965)
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(showing 1-30 of 491)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Lucile, a beautiful carefree woman of about thirty, lives happily and contentedly with a rich older man, Charles, as his mistress of two years. She's had a few affairs on the side, but she keeps the promise she made to herself and to him: she would never flaunt it in his face. Charles can't help but accept her for who she is: he's hopelessly in love with her and his only desire is that she reciprocated.

At one of the many dinners at a friend's house, Lucile meets Antoine, a poor young editor pick
...more
Jessica
this ~210 page novel is accompanied by a 100 page essay on translation. okay hofstadter, we know you are adorable.

okay so i realize i still haven't gotten anything down on this & so for now am just going to paste in an email i sent john after, pretty choppy & having followed a more in-depth conversation but hey, it's a start; also want to note (& so remember) john's snarky comment, "it's like it was written by someone who's never heard of derrida!"

...OH SNAP

**********

But do I, a mere
...more
Michelle
I seem to be adding 3 stars to almost every book I read these days! There isn't anything earth shattering about the novel- it's a simple story, at times a beautiful one, about the passion between two lovers. The title is actually a loose translation of Sagan's original title, La Chamade, which embodies that "mad ache" one feels in the throes of love. What I liked a good deal about the book is that Sagan- and the translator- perfectly capture that emotion, which is almost inexplicable. We've all ...more
Rebecca
Feb 13, 2015 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in foreign language lit
This is a lovely story, set in 60s Paris so very chic but also rather charmingly quaint. None of the characters are really that likeable, but Sagan really gets into their heads so I found myself empathising with pretty much every one at times.

What really set the book apart for me though was the attached essay by the translator, that made me think so much more about the fact that i was reading a translation, and how that translation had come about... I'd started reading the story but then curios
...more
camilla
A beautiful novel set in 1960's Paris. Lucile is a carefree young woman that wants nothing more than to idle her days away reading, napping, walking around the city, and waiting for Charles, her companion of two years, to come home. At a party she meets Antoine, a handsome young editor who has been snatched up by Diane, a rich older socialite. Lucile and Antoine quickly tumble into a romance that neither of them expected nor are able to control. Lucile must decide weather to stay with Charles, h ...more
Casey Black
Françoise Sagan is the French Jane Austen of the 1960s. Interested now?

Sure, there are a million books about love affairs and dull or bored people with too much money or not enough money at parties, but Sagan always lends a fresh tone, new observations, and it is apparent that she deeply loves even her smallest characters.

Sagan's usual, knowingly irresponsible, girlish protagonist is fun to read here as long as you aren't annoyed by the type, and the ending rings true without being overly melod
...more
Gerald
I love reading Francoise Sagan as much as reading Proust (in the vernacular!). I can't imagine her being read much anymore, in English at any rate.

In the world of rich, hedonistic, aimless Parisians, a young kept woman, Lucile, moves with the delicacy, lightness and superficiality required of her but is ultimately betrayed by amour fou.

If the characters evoked are superficial, the city itself is wonderfully real.

But real feeling and sentiment are ruinous and this is Lucile's fate.

It was throug
...more
Elayne Laken
The language is so rich, metaphorical and descriptive, I'm sorry to see this beautiful albeit tragically romantic story come to an end.
The Nike Nabokov
Even minor Sagan is better than most writers major work.
Lisa
Oct 07, 2013 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sagan
"One should never smoke on an empty stomach, nor for that matter should one partake of alcohol, drive fast, make love too often, tax one's heart, spend one's money, or do anything else."

I enjoyed this novel for the same reason I have enjoyed several of Sagan's other works - its smart, spoiled and utterly hedonistic protagonist. Lucile is a kept woman of Parisian high society who becomes torn between the dependability of Charles, her ageing beau and benefactor, or her much younger, much less pred
...more
Holly
Jan 18, 2014 Holly added it
Shelves: 2011-reads
I'd acquired this book simply because I wanted to read Douglas Hofstadter's 100-page essay, "Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation." Hofstadter here is not as interesting or thoughtful as Edith Grossman - in fact I thought he came across as a well-intentioned dilettante (I don't read French but if the quality of his translation is comparable to his indexes, then That Mad Ache mightn't be not so good). I enjoyed his extended metaphor of translator as do ...more
Mark
Sagan's short novel is brief in plot but immense in character and observation, and Hofstadter's translation brings a vigor to the language that's often lost when stories are moved to English. It's rare to find such well-imagined and complex characters (although Antoine could be a bore at times) in such a short space.

I've rarely trusted a translated novel enough to read it, but Hofstadter's essay at the back--as lengthy as the novel itself--addresses many of the concerns I've had about reconcilin
...more
Kate
I'm obsessed with a French film from the 1960's called La Chamade. Catherine Denevue, Paris, an Yves St. Laurent Wardrobe... it's gorgeous, sophisticated and stylish. When I found out there was a book upon which the film was based, I ordered it right away.

This is the story of a kept woman who holds on to her carefree adolescence (and avoids taking responsibility for her life) by staying in a relationship with a wealthy, older man who is enamored by her youth and beauty. But when she becomes pass
...more
Danie P.
Lucile is a young 30 year old living with a wealthy older man for two years now. Although she isn't head over heels passionately in love with him she loves him dearly and imagines that's how it will be forever.
Antoine ruins that picture. He and Lucile hit it off at a dinner party in Paris and immeadiatly have an intense passion for each other.
In my opinon Lucile is spoiled. She doesn't work, only cares for what is happening at the exact given time and enjoys lounging and living off others. She
...more
Gianna Mosser
There is a feminist in Lucile somewhere, if you can get past the whole high-maintenance right to do nothing with your life. I thought the relationship with Antoine was relatable, that the audience could certainly feel the ache. Not a bad read, though certainly not vying for a spot in the canon.
Veronika Kaufmann
This was a perfect read as you can get. It could also be titled "Lucile does a dance" and dances always end. A story about choice, amour fou and knowing yourself. Loved it.
Candace
I thought this was an OK book. I didn't get fully into it until about 1/4 to 1/2 the way in. And once I did it didn't seem to go anywhere. It's not a bad story though. It seemed to be a pretty accurate portrayal of 2 young couples who find themselves infatuated with the wrong significant others. Which made it out to be a somewhat depressing story. I was up in the air about the book until I read the end and felt it redeemed it worth a little.

I would only recommend this book to someone if they ne
...more
Joseph
Jan 22, 2010 Joseph added it
Shelves: 2010
It's become increasingly more important to me in a book the quality to present a world that is otherwise inaccessible, whether because its settings are in the distant past or because it describes a social world or landscape distinct and faraway. This, and more, was what I found here, a lovely introduction into Parisian high society of the 1960s, which is the backdrop to a young woman's journey through love and passion. I also thought the characters were wonderfully and richly developed. As for n ...more
Sophie
I read Bonjour Tristesse a few years back and thought it was brilliant...That Mad Ache (La Chamade) was just as great. The story is about Lucile who is involved with Charles, a much older (yet handsome) man who meets Antoine and they embark on a passionate affair. Lucile is torn between these two men and the different love that she feels for them both. I have to admit that the title of the book intrigued me and all falls into place on the last page. Beautiful book. PS. Although I loved the whole ...more
Liz
I hadn't read Francoise Sagan since I was in high school, when I had to do a translation of "Bonjour Tristesse" for class. What fun it was to read "That Mad Ache", which seems like a frivolous tale of the overprivleged in 1950's Paris, but is actually an insightful character study. The main character, Lucile, is so immature frustrating as a person, but compelling enough to hold your attention. The other side of the book is "Translator, Trader" which is an interesting mini-book (100 pp) about the ...more
Diane
Francoise Sagan writes an extrodinary character analysis of a sensitive, bright, irresponsible young woman, 30 year old Lucile. Mistress to and well kept by Charles, her 50 year old lover who needs to be needed, Lucile falls in love with Antoine, her age, and has a passionate affair with him. It is the story of a rootless woman, who desires no responsibilities and who is forced to examine two very different kinds of love and make a choice. Set in Paris in the 1960's, I simply did not care about ...more
Farah
I enjoyed La Chamade/That Mad Ache, but then I'm a sucker for a Parisian romance, and a 1960s one to boot. What's more, I loved that the book included an essay by the translator, Douglas Hofstadter, which discusses the art of translation.
Gloria
Well I was apprehensive that I had not picked up to read a "lighter" book when I picked this up-- the 100 page essay on translation loomed heavy (and being who I am, I knew I would feel compelled to read it). So I am delighted to say that I loved Sagan's novel and found Hofstadter lovely, inspiring and even a wee bit jealous. Well worth the read, both parts and a book that I will keep, contrary my intention when I picked it up.
Diane C.
This book takes a bit to get going, but the conclusion is a compelling read. Loved the characters, Francoise Sagan's writing and plan to read the rest of her books.

It's so refreshing to read a book with a protagonist full of flaws, kind and loving, yet weak and not noble. Lucile has little self determination, just a survival instinct and yet still, you like her and hope things turn out alright for her.
Teri
It's been a long while since I read Bonjour Tristesse. Nothing in the novel really places it in the time frame of the 1960's rather it reminded me of Colette... especially the 'Cheri' stories which I just read (as well as seeing the movie.) This has a languid and romantic appeal. I haven't yet finished the accompanying essay on translations, but it is very interesting.
Jan
This is a story of a young French woman who lives with her 50 year old benefactor. She drifts through a high society, pressure- less life until she meets a young man that is also a rather kept man in the same social circle. This book is quite sensuous and follows their affair and the decisions that she makes.
Luke
A sweet and intense french love story, with a wonderful style moving easily in and out of the characters' minds and relationships. Lovingly translated with a long translator's note that captures a small sense of Hofstadter's "Le Ton Beau de Marot".
Momi
Fascinating insights on the process of translation told in erudite and amusing style by Hofstadter. Sagan's story is lovely too, but having read the essay first, I knew the translator was a 'co-author/collaborator.' Highly recommend.
Peter
The essay on translation is brilliant.
Kati534
Kati534 marked it as to-read
Jun 20, 2015
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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 Bonjour Tristesse & A Certain Smile Sunlight on Cold Water

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“Nothing brings on jealousy like laughter.” 184 likes
“When I was a child”? Only the nostalgia for those days of utter, absolute irresponsibility, now long gone. But for her (and this she would never have admitted to anyone), those days weren’t gone at all. She still felt totally irresponsible.” 0 likes
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