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Chéri (Chéri #1)

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  859 ratings  ·  79 reviews
The classic French novel by Colette tells the story of Lea, an "older" woman involved in a love affair with a younger man whom she calls "Cheri."
Paperback, 156 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Chatterley Press International (first published 1920)
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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...more
Apr 15, 2014 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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
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

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...more
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...more
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...more
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....more
Maria Grazia
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
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.
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...more
They should give you a "didn't finish" option.
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)...more
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...more
‘Chéri’ merits the term confection - reading this novella is a little like eating a chocolate eclair. The titular Chéri is a beautiful, spoiled, and capricious young man who reminded me somewhat of Daisy in The Great Gatsby. Like her, he seems to exist mainly to be ornamental. We see him largely through the eyes of Léa, his lover. She is twenty-four years older than him and is utterly in charge of the relationship. I liked her very much and appreciated her intelligence and self-awareness, qualit...more
"(...)Ero dunque così bella ai tuoi occhi? Così buona? All'età in cui tante donne hanno finito di vivere ero per te la più bella, la migliore di tutte, e mi hai amata? Come posso ringraziarti, amore mio? La più nobile, hai detto? Povero piccolo.. (...) Se fossi stata la più nobile, avrei fatto di te un uomo, invece di pensare soltanto al piacere del tuo corpo e del mio. La più nobile, no non lo sono stata, mio tesoro, poichè ti ho tenuto per me. E, ora, è troppo tardi"

"(...)Presto, bambino corri...more
"[...] Perdonami, Cherì: ti ho amato come se avessimo dovuto morire tutti e due da un momento all'altro. Dato che ero nata ventiquattro anni prima di te, ero condannata, e ti trascinavo con me..."

Leggere questo libro è stata una piccola sofferenza; una sofferenza consapevole, però, e prevista sin dall'inizio: l’aspettativa di un finale felice non è solo illusoria, ma anche sciocca.
Eppure la sottile tragicità che aleggia in tutta la narrazione, accompagnata da una prosa delicata e perspicace, c...more
I've been on a Collette binge these last few weeks. I started with Barks and Purrs, and enjoyed it so much that I immediately checked out a copy of Chéri, read through it in a few days, and have immediately started The Last of Cheri. Barks and Purrs impressed me with the perfect read on dogs and cats and the way their owners imagine their inner thoughts. Cheri manages to capture, with pitch perfect accuracy, the emotions of a doomed-by-society relationship. While today, readers will not be parti...more
Mika Auramo
Yksi Coletten tunnetuimmista teoksista Chéri (1920) tuntuu nykyromaaneihin verrattuna jo aikansa eläneeltä. Ennen vanhaan Colettea pidettiin ranskalaisen naisten tunnetuimpiin kuuluvana kirjailijan viime vuosisadan alkuvuosikymmeninä.

Myös suomalaiseen kirjallisuuteen Colettella on ollut vaikutusta, mutta sensuuria eivät läpäisseet hänen käsittelemänsä aiheet. Chéri on tarina kahdesta rakastavaisesta: Léa on 49-vuotias rehevä luksuskurtisaani ja itsetietoinen nainen, joka on kasvattanut perhetutt...more
Portia Costa
Some beautiful writing, and the translation is wonderful... but I found the story a bit depressing. I have sympathy for Lea, but Cheri himself is a waste of space. I know the story is an expression of larger cultural themes but Cheri is completely unlikeable and I just feel as if I want to smack him. Even anti heroes have to have some quality that makes me root for them, and with him there's nothing.

I must be a glutton for punishment though because I just bought The Last of Cheri too. Probably b...more
Karen Michele
I enjoy accompanying my dad to the "old movies" at our local theater and last year one of my favorites was Gigi. I didn't even think about who wrote it until this challenge, when I happily discovered Collette, the author. I decided to read Cheri since I already knew the story of Gigi, and it was such an enjoyable read, primarily because of the fine writing and descriptions of Paris near the end of the Belle Époque. It was certainly a brave book for its time, but I was also reminded that society'...more
Fière d'avoir retenu le mots qu'il ne faut pas dire.

La sintesi del romanzo di Colette sta proprio qui:
"Fière de se dompter si aisément, d'escamoter la seule minute émue de leur séparation, fière d'avoir retenu le mots qu'il ne faut pas dire".

Non si tratta di freddezza di sentimenti ma di convenzioni sociali che ingabbiano i rapporti come in un'armatura. Nulla deve trasparire all'esterno di ciò che realmente si prova perché solo così ci si comporta comme il faut. Ma basta una crepa, un gesto ina...more
Story line was good. I don't think this is the edition I read. Mine was a borrowed book from Kindle translated by Walt Ballenberger. I had trouble with the translation, I think. I wasn't sure who was speaking at times, and there were quotes around people's thoughts. I think this translation was too literal, and therefore the story got garbled. I am not a French student, and have no knowledge of the flow and rhythm of the language. I wish I had the ability to read this in the original.
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Claire Chat de bibliothèques
Une belle histoire universelle, pour moi, une découverte de Colette. J'ai eu beaucoup de mal avec le personnage de Chéri, même si ce n'est pas vraiment un coup de coeur, ça m'a vraiment donné envie de lire d'autres livres de cette auteure.


Can't say I liked any of the characters very much, but I really felt with them. Following the passion, the longing, the mixed and torn feelings and the mixture of confusion and control was truly a literary experience.

I also like to encourage future readers to once in a while pretend that Lea is a man and Chéri a woman to see what different perspectives you get on their relationship.
Penso che le varie Demi Moore, Madonna e Lory del Santo abbiano letto questo libro e, magari, si siano ispirate a esso per le proprie vicende amorose. Le loro storie, infatti, sono molto simili a quella narrata da Colette. Tuttavia, con Cheri siamo di fronte a uno di quei casi in cui la letteratura supera la realtà: la delicatezza nel tratteggiare la storia e i sentimenti, la profondità di questi ultimi e la sensualità che emerge, di certo difficilmente si trovano nella vita vera.
Con Cheri, l'a...more
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
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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...
Cheri & The Last of Cheri The Vagabond The Complete Claudine The Collected Stories Gigi & The Cat

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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.” 86 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.” 1 likes
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