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Break of Day

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3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  330 Ratings  ·  34 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, 127 pages
Published 1961 by Avon Books (first published 1928)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 773)
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Lydia
May 12, 2008 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Suzi
Apr 17, 2008 Suzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Antenna
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
...more
Beluosus
Mar 08, 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.
Charlie
Dec 11, 2012 Charlie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Juliann
Mar 01, 2008 Juliann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karyn
Nov 14, 2015 Karyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lushly descriptive.
Agnes Fontana
Mar 28, 2013 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
Eric
Sep 22, 2014 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jennifer
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.
Sarah
Jan 24, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Gwendolyn Jerris
Mar 03, 2014 Gwendolyn Jerris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Leslie Berke
I look forward to re-reading this book 20 and 40 years from now.
Juliette
Très descriptif
Sean
Feb 29, 2016 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Debby
Aug 14, 2013 Debby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


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.
Ck
Oct 11, 2012 Ck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Donna
May 30, 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.
David
Jun 19, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 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.
Michaela
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.
Kallie
Aug 20, 2009 Kallie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Amanda Byrne
Nov 19, 2012 Amanda Byrne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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."
Nose in a book (Kate)
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: http://www.noseinabook.co.uk/?p=1591
Eszter
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.
Jenny.p
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.
feathers
dreamy, wandering, loving of plants and animals. sunlit with provencal beach heat and idiosyncratic summertime company. perfect for falling asleep inside of.
Catalina
Mar 20, 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!
Kelli
Dec 16, 2010 Kelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some amazing writing, but I felt a bit like I was in Lit class and missing some deep underlying meanings.
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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.
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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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