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Gigi, Julie de Carneilhan, and Chance Acquaintances: Three Short Novels

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  219 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Two volumes of Colette's most beloved works, with a new Introduction by Judith Thurman.

Perhaps Colette's best-known work, Gigi is the story of a young girl being raised in a household more concerned with success and money than with the desires of the heart. But Gigi is uninterested in the dishonest society life she observes all around her and remains exasperatingly Gigi. T
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 10th 2001 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1976)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeSwann's Way by Marcel ProustThe Metamorphosis by Franz KafkaThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Belle Époque
204th out of 327 books — 120 voters

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Apr 15, 2014 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERY FRANCOPHILE
Recommended to Wayne by: Di, friend and older sister.
What a companion is Colette!!Especially Colette!!
Especially when she puts herself into one of her stories, as she does with "Chance Acquaintances".

I've just read it for the fifth time in about 30 years and all I have ever been able to recall of each prior reading is "the pleasure of her company." The plot, the characters, the setting...all gone from my memory, as I just realised Colette suggests with "obliterated" in the last sentence in this slice of "hotel holiday life".

Of course the plot and
Aug 12, 2007 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Colette Lovers!
This book has two of my favorite stories from Colette. I've read Gigi some time ago, but recently read Julie De Carneilhan. I loved this story; it's the best I've read in such a long time, which is refreshing. Julie is completely not like anyone. But I think readers will find her relatable. I saw myself through some of her action, like "cursing jubilantly to herself" while answering the phone or making a purple carnation to wear, only to throw it away an hour later, fearful of what others will t ...more
Ashley Blake
Colette's most known work, Gigi, is included in the volume of three short novels. While it is a charming story, I really like the other two better. They capture much more, for me at least, the spirit of what I think Paris was like during this time period. Also, they express the depths of the single female in a world where marriage rules but infidelity is as common as tea time.
I read somewhere in an biography of Colette that Julie de Carneilan is the closest she came to writing about her second marriage.
So beautifully told. Not at all sentimental.
I actually prefer the movie version over the short story for Gigi. Sure, the movie is more of a sugarcoated version- that probably has to do with the fact that it's a musical. But I find that a singing Gaston is less creepy than as he is portrayed in the novella. Somehow, I don't think that Gigi and Gaston are destined to receive a happily ever after- at least, not in Colette's short story if it were continued. But then again, Colette does not generally provide happy endings for her characters- ...more
I started reading it because my writing teacher suggested it, saying Colette's subject matter seemed similar to my own. I found the first two stories incredibly charming and interesting, while the third one is a bit darker.

I'd recommend this for those interested in strong, feisty female characters, and they evolved so much within so few pages. There are many funny, clever lines, as well, which was part of the magic of the characters.

I'm definitely intrigued by Colette herself, and I plan to read
Julie de Carneilhan

This is the story of a woman of a certain age (in her 50's) whose love life continues its complicated arc. She shares a secret friendship with her former husband, whom she still loves, while maintaining a relationship with a much younger lover, who very much wants to be her next husband. Meanwhile, she mends her clothes and snaps at her maid and economizes on food and wants... more.

This is a story that looks at love and passion and hope from both sides. A young and beautiful
Black Elephants
I bought this book because I wanted to read Gigi because I saw the musical and loved it. The short story on which the popular musical and Leslie Caron movie is based is also charming. However, you wish that Colette actually wrote it as a novel. That's really all I have to say. It's fun fluff.

Anyway, there are two other novellas in this particular book. Halfway through the second, Julie de Carneilhan, I just lost interest. Julie is a twice-divorced Parisian socialite who has a hot-and-cold relati
Gigi - I think the context of when the story was written, where and under what circumstances is important in appreciating Gigi. Also, I like the Belle Epoque style. Otherwise, I didn't like the story. It was cheap, moralist nonsense, in terms of what it has to offer today. The old ladies are horrible - pressing Gigi to ditch her friends in order to climb the social ranks, learn fine table manners, bla bla bla, and at the same time, curtailing Gigi's desires to embrace womanly things (longer skir ...more
Susan Howson
Jan 09, 2013 Susan Howson rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Francophiles
Honestly, I liked Chance Acquaintances best. Julie de Carneilhan would make a good movie, and Gigi rules, of course, but Chance Acquaintances was truly compelling. Three great novellas from one of the most fascinating people I've ever read about!

Colette forevs! I plan to read all her stuff one day, but that day may not be today.

Gigi review:
This is one of the only books I have ever read that was less thorough than the film adaptation! Really good, though, and learning more about Colette via the
Colette has long been one of my favorite authors and I have several of her books on my favorites shelf. Every now and then I pull one down for a reread. Having just seen Gigi on TV, I thought it would be a good time to revisit that story and the two others that make up this volume. Gigi is a charming story, although the flyleaf says her family was preparing her to make a good match implying matrimony when in fact they were preparing her to do so as a courtesan. Julie de Carneilhan didn't grab me ...more
Mar 14, 2013 Angel added it
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Mar 02, 2012 Mady rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mady by: Alexandra
Shelves: 2012, mine
-> This volume has 3 short stories, but I've only read Gigi so far. I'll save the other two for later.

Gigi is Gilberte, a naive outspoken fifteen year old living with her mother and grandmother. While her mother is always absent as she works as singer at the opera, Gigi is being raised by her grandmother and her Aunt Alicia to become a courtesan.
Gaston Lachaille is a rich heir and a family friend who drops by for frequent visits. Gigi and Gaston get along very well but can things work out be
Debra Humphrey
In February, I was passing a display table in the library with books that became oscar-winning movies. Gigi caught my attention. I picked up this book because I used to love watching Gigi as a kid - Thank heaven for little girls. I was surprised when I discovered that it was one of three short stories. Colette's short stories are about a girl coming of age, an older woman making new decisions, and a woman in love. All three women are strong and independent, but at the same time feminine and vuln ...more
Colette was an excellent observer of society life, and very witty and clever. She turns a good phrase or two, but overall I thought the writing was tortured. Chance Acquaintances was the best of the lot, the one I really enjoyed reading. I couldn't get through Julie de Carneilhan.
I've seen the musical Gigi with Leslie Caron so many times, I thought I should finally read the short story that inspired the movie. I finished Gigi and am planning to read Julie de Carneilhan when I have the time.
I found Colette's Gigi to be charming and vivacious. I especially enjoyed Colette's character descriptions and details. Hope I enjoy the other two short novels as well.
Having seen the movie on TV many times, I recognized whole paragraphs of the dialog in the book! According to the introduction, this story is one of her only stories with a happy ending.
Comments above apply only to 'Gigi'. There are two other novellas in this book
Gigi: very good, but the ending rang false.

Julie de Carneilhan: beautiful style, even though the story was completely unmemorable.

Chance Acquaintances: excellent, the best of the lot.
This book was my initiation into Colette's world. Captivating; but I like the Claudine stories a lot better (for their precociousness and roman a clef components). These are a little less mischievous.
Aug 28, 2008 Lynda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
I read it because of the movie and as frequently happens liked it better. Gigi is enchanting, wise, and addictive.
The other two short novels are less compelling but still good reading.
Kate Murphy
Liked it but it's no where near as good as the Claudine stories. The "novels" are just too short to sink your teeth into.
Julie de Carneilhan was excellent, as was Gig. Didn't like Chance Acquaintances as Much.
Every third word was "gramama". If you love that word you'll love this book.
Yvonne Ferrari
True to the Americans, Gigi was my favorite.
prrou = best cat name ever.
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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 and The Last of Cheri The Vagabond The Complete Claudine The Collected Stories Gigi & The Cat

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“Then, bidding farewell to The Knick-Knack, I went to collect the few personal belongings which, at that time, I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.” 24 likes
“[Julie] had lived a great deal among lies, before plumping for a small life of her own, a sincere and restricted life from which all pretense, even in matters sensual, was banished. How many crazy decisions and allegiances to successive aspects fo the truth! Had she not, one day when her costume for a fancy dress had demanded short hair, cut off the great chestnut mane that fell below her waist when she let it down? 'I could have hired a wig,' she thought. 'I might also, at a pinch, have passed the rest of my life with Becker or Espivant. If it comes to that, I could also have gone on stirring puddings in a saucepan at Carneilhan. The things "one might have done" are, in fact, the things one could not do...” 8 likes
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