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Cheri and The Last of Cheri (Chéri #1-2)

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3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  2,247 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
Exquisitely handsome, spoilt and sardonic, Chéri is the only son of a wealthy courtesan, a contemporary of Léa, the magnificent and talented woman who for six years has devoted herself to his amorous education.

When a rich marriage is arranged for Chéri, Léa reluctantly decides their relationship must end. Chéri, despite his apparent detachment, is haunted by memories of L
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 10th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1926)
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Julie Ehlers
Dec 16, 2013 Julie Ehlers rated it really liked it
In some ways, the characters in these two short novels are utterly free. Just about everything is permitted in the Parisian society to which they belong: Become a courtesan. Take a much younger lover. Have a child out of wedlock. Become addicted to opium. Don’t ever bother to get married, but if you do, sleep around with other people. Spend your whole life in total leisure. Go ahead! No one cares. But this culture, like every culture, does have its own codes of conduct, and thus its own set of r ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 16, 2009 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love romance books
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, french, romance
It's been 4 months since I last read a love story. It was September 2009 when I read A.S. Byatt's POSSESSIONS and I really liked it. It was about two poets falling in love with each other but it did not materialize because they were both married.

This movie tie-in book is composed of 2 novels by Colette, a French lady author during and after World War I. This is semi-autobiographical which means that the main characters particularly Lea was based on her own life. She, an aging actress at the age
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John
Aug 03, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers who long for a reawakening, in every sense
Recommended to John by: Maybe a older woman w/ a lot to offer?
Virginia Woolf, though rather a she-wolf herself, declared that reading Colette made her feel "dowdy." So too, getting into these twinned short masterpieces of love perverse yet pure, indeed superlunary, you yourself will likely feel pretty country-mouse & small-town. Yet you’ll also get stung to the quick, all five senses reawakened. Colette begins the 1st novella w/ a worldly woman’s bare arms extended above a tousled morning bed, demanding her pearls, & then ends the 2nd w/ a man on a ...more
Helynne
Jun 22, 2009 Helynne rated it it was amazing
Colette is such a fascinating character herself, that it's tempting to give a description of some of the highlights of her life right here. I will defer, however, to two of my favorites among her many novels, Chéri (1920) and Fin de Chéri (1926). In the first novel and in its sequel, Colette sensitively examines the tenuous emotions of Léa de Lonval, a courtesan nearing age 50, who has been the longtime mistress of the much younger Fred "Chéri" Paloux. Whereas the first novel focuses on Léa’s h ...more
Djrmel
Feb 27, 2009 Djrmel rated it really liked it
On the surface, this is the melodramatic love story of a boytoy and the woman who turned him out. But go deeper, and you see that the characters are going through a lot more than simply growing old - they're all growing up, a condition brought on not only by nature but also by post WWI Paris. Cheri was raised to be an ornament, something his mother, lover, and finally wife could be proud to call her own. What all these women failed to see was that while they moved forward in life, he wanted not ...more
Sonia
Nov 14, 2010 Sonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una storia d'amore dove tutto ciò che viene detto non fa che nascondere mille altre parole non dette. Dove ognuno dice ciò che non pensa e non fa ciò che dice.
Una storia che sin dalle prime pagine del libro indurrebbe a pensare si tratti di una storia di una notte e via e solo con stupore scopriamo che va avanti da sette anni.
E quelle pagine che a noi sembrano l'inizio non sono che l'inizio della fine.
Niente è come appare, eppure il lettore (il lettore del 2010 o già di quei tempi?) già sa tut
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Courtney Johnston
Feb 22, 2011 Courtney Johnston rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, own
I first found Colette on the shelves of the library at Knox College - the sensualist French writer seemed rather out of place in the Anglican seminary collection.

'Chéri' rapidly became one of my favourite love stories - slim, sexy, sad. The tale the aging courtesan Léa and her love affair with the young, spoilt, beautiful Chéri, the book flips the usual love story on its head. An older woman cossets and educates a brash young man; when an advantageous marriage is arranged, Léa reluctantly ends
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Ruby Hollyberry
Jun 26, 2009 Ruby Hollyberry rated it it was amazing
When Cheri came out, according to the Judith Thurman biography, there were people who objected to it on the basis of the characters being "worthless" and Colette said that they should think of them in the category of realistic stories of the poor, for who could be poorer than Lea and Cheri? This I think is quite true. The world they know, all they are aware of, is purely materialistic, hedonistic, and competitive. Game-playing, one-upmanship and the pursuit of money and momentary indulgences con ...more
Morgan
Oct 10, 2014 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think my American side showed too much when reading this book. I liked it overall, but this wasn't easy to grasp. It's basically about a elder concubine Lea and her toyboy lover Cheri. As an American reading this, I found it a little awkward, but interesting. It made conflict with characters and made me read something I'm not really use too, which was a good challenge. I will say in reality I don't agree with Lea and Cheri's kind of relationship, but you have to have an open mind when you read ...more
Descending Angel
May 01, 2016 Descending Angel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: colette
Technically two novels, but each one reads as half a story, which kinda reminded me of Knut Hamsun's The Wanderer (which is also made up of two short novels written years apart: Under the Autumn Star + On Muted Strings) where the second novel doesn't really feel like a sequel but a second half that completes the first, so really you need to read both back to back. First of all, this book isn't gunna be for everyone: the story, the style it's written in, the fact that you can say that basicly not ...more
Angie
Aug 05, 2009 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning: these two novels, collected in one volume, albeit translated by the same person, do not read the same. I felt in "The Last of Cheri" that I was being cheated of both a sensual and spiritual element of the story that would explain Cheri's actions at the end. Well, I suppose it serves me right for not reading the two in French myself, as another reviewer here on goodreads did.

But don't not read these novels, either. Colette is a master of human psychology, especially the power plays in a
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(P)Ila
Jan 14, 2016 (P)Ila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Chéri ***

Un libro che mi ha lasciata abbastanza indifferente: in poco più che cento pagine assistiamo alla passione tra Chéri e Lea e la vediamo arrestarsi a causa di forze maggiori, lui si sposa e lei parte, lui è in difficoltà, lei torna e lui torna da lei ma...una trama degna dei migliori feuilleton.
In una Parigi frivola e fuori dalla righe, in salotti lussuosi e in compagnia di donne dalla morale discutibile o forse figlie di una vita alla ricerca di passioni e divertimenti come solo le cort
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Kate Lawrence
Apr 15, 2014 Kate Lawrence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Ah, the life of the idle rich! Well, if you read Colette, you get a very different picture than the idealized version usually presented in the media. As it turns out, idleness spent in gorgeously furnished surroundings eating and drinking the best foods and wines while being attended by servants, isn't easy--who knew? And for courtesans, who depend on their beauty to maintain relationships with men and secure their place among other beautiful women, the onset of aging is terrifying. In fact, try ...more
Laura  Yan
Jul 10, 2010 Laura Yan rated it really liked it
Shelves: french
Rather, 4 for Cheri, and 3 for the Last of Cheri. There's something about French writers that's just so very elegant and sensual (as all the reviews say), something smooth and pretty in the language, the observation of lingering pretty details. And Cheri is a beautiful depiction of a powerful love affair, sex, emotions, fashion, the whole set that is worth considering. Cheri is a playboy, and lover Lea is a famed and older courtesan. Lovely that Colette doesn't focus much on societal concerns so ...more
emm
Apr 01, 2010 emm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Cheri'and'The Last of Cheri'were the 2nd and 3rd books by Colette that I read.The first book by Colette was 'Break of Day'.Being the romantic that I am,I loved the relationship between Lea and Marcel (I hope I remembered the right names)and I liked that Lea was the older partner.

I liked how their safe haven was Lea's home, where they were free.I imagined being Lea a couple of times while reading.

It was because of Colette,who is my favorite French female writer,that I began my love and admiratio
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Sophia
May 24, 2010 Sophia rated it really liked it
She is very good. It is remarkable, but sad. She is not very forgiving to her characters, but she knows them well and despite moments where she she is clearly making fun and having her jabs, it reads as a very clear eyed view of a very specific world. It felt unlike "The Ripening Seed" which is the only other Colette I have read, but the lesson, if not the tone, is the same: love exists, it is real and important, but it will not save you, and it may destroy you. I would recommend this to the Eng ...more
Lisa Matlock
Aug 01, 2014 Lisa Matlock rated it it was amazing
Cheri tells the story of 2 self absorbed people who form a passionate relationship. The power in the relationship swings between the two lovers but eventually one person will come out on top. Colette's descriptive writing style draws you into the boudoirs and coffee houses of the villages outside of Paris in the era before and after WW1. The houses, furniture and people are portrayed so well that you are floating in the corner of the room watching the everyday rituals of the idle rich and the ag ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥

Fred Peloux, also known as Chéri, falls in love with the much older Léa. It was not his fault that she was born many years before him; she has given him love, given him everything that she is and he received. Nobody can ever replace Léa, not even his young wife. He is tormented. Léa is his first love, the only he truly and fully loves and nobody else. Towards the ends reality hits him: Léa is getting older, and as he sees her in the morning daylight, he notices that she has aged and decides to l
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Lisa
Jan 16, 2013 Lisa rated it it was ok
Kind of just sucked. Didn't like the characters didn't know why Cheri and Edmee stayed together. Cheri proved himself a cad and then was annoyed in the Last of Cheri that he and Lea were both old. Ugh.
Stephen
Feb 10, 2013 Stephen rated it liked it
Sensuous,sometimes beautiful, writing, even in translation. It's hard to care very much about any of the basically useless characters, caught as they are in idleness and the past. I guess it does offer a peek at a miniscule slice of Parisian society right before and after the first world war.
Jillian
Feb 17, 2011 Jillian rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, depressing
The movie was way more cheerful and far less satisfying. Loved these quotes by Lea, "Fair exchange is no robbery," and "You've been fluttering your wings too much...". She is one sexy character.
Jori Richardson
This is a combination of two individual books, which I will review here separately.

The first, "Chéri," introduces us to a stunningly beautiful, conceited young man named Frank Peloux, otherwise known as Chéri. At twenty-five years of age, he is having a love affair with the sophisticated Léa de Lonval, a courtesan twice his age. When Chéri must marry a young heiress, Léa reluctantly decides that they must end the relationship. Chéri pretends indifference, but finds himself haunted by the one pe
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Eric
Sep 27, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gina
I reread this duo after a dear (and extremely well-read) friend expressed incredulity that I liked it as much as I did. I remembered loving Chéri and feeling indifferent to The Last of Chéri, but that was ten years ago and I was reading it on a roof in Marrakesh. But maybe inexperience or the indulgence of reading Colette from a Moroccan perch made everything slightly more... vivid.

I'm happy to report that Chéri lost none of its charm as I've added some gray hairs here and there, nor does it su
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Violeta Marinescu
Sep 22, 2014 Violeta Marinescu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Într-o literatură adânc impregnată de intelectualism, în care fiecare impuls al sentimentului e dublat de o reacție a spiritului, ca literatura franceză, în care până și romantismul capătă trăsături ordonate și raționale, Colette este numită drept scriitoarea care ascultă doar de propria ei personalitate. Chiar ea confirma faptul că trebuie să scrii numai din propriile experiențe: „Să nu scrii decât ceea ce ai văzut. Privește lung ceea ce-ți place și mai lung ceea ce nu-ți place. Încearcă să fii ...more
Núria
A pesar de la mala experiencia de 'La gata', me animé a leer algo más de Colette. 'Chéri' estaba en la librería y no me pude resistir. Aunque no ha llegado ni por asomo a entusiasmarme, me ha parecido una lectura agradable. Es ridículamente frívola, pero tiene un estilo elegante, irónico y hasta cierto punto cautivador. Pero afortunadamente esta novelita no tiene sólo estilo (que era básicamente lo que le pasaba a 'La gata', que sólo se preocupaba por construir un estilo florido que acababa resu ...more
Dale Pobega
Oct 30, 2013 Dale Pobega rated it really liked it
Colette's novel is full of signs and descriptions of newly acquired wealth through Capitalist speculation and investment by its women characters - ex prostitutes for the most part (including Chéri's own mother) who sold their bodies to get ahead in the past and now use their acquired wealth to invest in "futures" - both literal and in the broader sense.

As a privileged, upper class male conditioned to expectations of easy money (30 000 Francs a year from his mother alone!), Cheri is too entangled
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Marie
Beautiful imagery and a gorgeous portrayal of even the minutest of human actions. I haven't read such a well-written story filled with fantastic philosophical and psychological observations in a while.

The final dramatic scene in "Chéri" was so excellent and emotionally honest that I wanted to give Colette an award just for that.

Scenes in part two have an eerie mood/life similarity to some in "Parade's End," but that thought partly comes to me because this is the first directly post WWI book tha
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Elizabeth Reuter
Jul 26, 2013 Elizabeth Reuter rated it it was amazing
Cheri and The Last of Cheri are two short novels covering the love affair between young, handsome "Cheri" and his much older courtesan lover, Lea. Like all of Colette's novels, this was at least semi-autobiographical.

I am not sure if this was Colette's intent, but I was struck by how Lea and Cheri kept getting in their own way. They literally have everything. They are rich, beautiful, popular, live surrounded by beauty and opulence in a modern country. They can go anywhere, do anything--and in e
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Vivian LeMay
Mar 13, 2012 Vivian LeMay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is Paris in the years before WWI. "At the age of forty-nine Leonie Vallon, called Lea de Lonval was nearing the end of a successful career as a richly kept courtesan."

With her own home, servants, gowns and jewels, Lea enjoyed a prosperous life on the fringes of French society. Among a small clique of other women like her, friends who could never truly be friends because of their rivalry, Lea stood tall and beautiful and proud. She has an affair with the seventeen year old son of one these ac
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Jennifer
Nov 26, 2007 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it with me and anthologies all of the sudden? At least this is only two books. After the Philip K. Dick anthology I was struggling with feelings of degradation and oppression. I needed something that was the opposite of dystopian American sci-fi, and what better could I find on my shelves than classical French literature by a female author? Plus, it is on my TBR pile challenge list, so extra points!

I must admit my interest was piqued by watching previews for the movie version of Cheri (w
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Cheri by Colette 1 11 Feb 17, 2013 08:56AM  
  • Love For Lydia
  • Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand
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  • Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette
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  • Look at Me
  • A Parisian Affair and Other Stories
  • The Ravishing of Lol Stein
  • That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)
  • Incest: From a Journal of Love
  • Diary of a Mad Old Man
  • The Devil in the Flesh
  • The Silent Duchess
  • The Masterpiece (Les Rougon-Macquart, #14)
  • The Nephew
  • Belle du Seigneur
  • Mademoiselle de Maupin
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Colette was the pen name of the French novelist and actress Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known, at least in the English-speaking world, for her novella Gigi, which provided the plot for a famous Lerner & Loewe musical film and stage musical. She started her writing career penning the influential Claudine novels of books. The novel Chéri is often cited as her masterpiece.
More about Colette...

Other Books in the Series

Chéri (2 books)
  • Chéri
  • The Last of Cheri

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“The seventeenth of March. In other words, spring. Desmond, people who think themselves smart, I mean those in the height of fashion, women or men - can they afford to wait any longer before buying their spring wardrobes?” 8 likes
“Curious how people can go on doing the same thing day after day!” 4 likes
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