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Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  1,800 ratings  ·  144 reviews
Sylish, shimmering and amoral, Sagan's tale of adolescence and betrayal on the French Riviera was her masterpiece, published when she was just eighteen. However, this frank and explicit novella was considered too daring for 1950s Britain, and sexual scenes were removed for the English publication. Now this fresh and accurate new translation presents the uncensored text in ...more
Paperback, 217 pages
Published April 4th 2013 by Penguin (first published 1956)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,800 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Bonjour Tristesse & A Certain Smile, both novellas by Sagan have been on my TBR for years, and I am so glad I finally read them.

There was no particular reason I wanted to read them other than that I heard so many readers speak of them, tho not about them. I was intrigued.

I had no idea that Sagan was only 18 when she wrote Bonjour Tristesse, but reading the novella I had been wondering what age group the author was writing for. You see, I didn't connect with the main character. She was quite
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-lit-wd
Bonjour Tristesse
This story is set in the South of France and written by Francoise Sagan when she was 17 years old ( published when she was 19)
Cécile, is a seventeen year old girl, holidaying with her widowed father and his young girlfriend on the French Riviera. They enjoy the start of an idyllic summer, sunbathing, swimming and relaxing in the hot french sunshine.
Cécile befriends the good looking Cyril who lives nearby.
A few weeks later, an old friend of her late mother comes to stay and th
Alja (alyaofwinterfell)
4.5 stars

I adored this book - the prose was beautiful, the characters immoral and cynical and it was set on the gorgeous French Riviera in the 1950's.

We follow 17 year old Cécile and her playboy father on their holidays in a villa by the Mediterranean sea. They lead a hedonistic, decadent lifestyle full of parties and mistresses. That is, until a family friend, the beautiful and elegant Anne comes in and threatens to drastically change their lives. Cécile does not appreciate Anne's plans to marr
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to the last book I read, as part of my "Classics" experiment (Paul Auster's "New York Trilogy"), I'm sure as hell glad I picked this one up!

Francoise Sagan's first two novels have proved short, sweet and to the point ~ making the couple of days (on/off) it took me to read them highly enjoyable and utterly worthwhile.

Amongst beautiful landscapes and fascinating, highly complex characters, Sagan weaves two searing, deliciously "French" tales of love, passion, jealousy and betrayal. One s
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sigh. Oh, Bonjour Tristesse - why do you have to only be one hundred and nine pages? It's so unfair.

I took as long as I possibly could to read this novel. For a few days, Bonjour Tristesse became my world. And what a world...

Bonjour Tristesse is the perfect literary holiday. It's that rare bird; a novel you can escape into, that will also keep you thinking. Okay, so the novel's not without tragedy - it's called Bonjour Tristesse, after all - but really, who can resist a twisted love story?

(Or i
How can an 18 year old possess such insight and skill as Sagan?
She writes with such sophistication and as every reviewer points out - it's oh so French (love that).
I bought this particular copy last summer at Heathrow after finding out that post 24+ hours of flying my last plane was to be delayed by a few hours, so I needed to do some serious bookish retail therapy at WH Smith's - I tried reading this lovely turquoise Penguin edition in autumn but didn't click with it so put it down for a future
Françoise Sagan become an overnight sensation in 1954 which the publication of her first novel Bonjour Tristesse. At the age of 18, she published the novel she will be remembered for; the story of Cécile, a seventeen year old living with her widowed father and his mistress on the French Riviera. During an uneventful summer, an old friend of her late mother comes and stirs the peaceful balance of their summer villa.

Not knowing much about Françoise Sagan, I could not determine just how autobiograp
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Françoise Sagan was just eighteen when she wrote her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse. On its publication in 1954, the book was an instant sensation, flying off the shelves and making a celebrity of its author in the process. It is a wonderful book, an irresistible story of love, frivolity and the games a young girl plays with others people’s emotions, all set against the backdrop of a heady summer on the Riviera. Bonjour Tristesse might just be the perfect holiday read.

Seventeen-year-old Cécile i
Tanya Sen
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finely crafted prose, gracefully sensuous - and yet careless, cool, irresistibly languid. The style is faintly Fitzgerald-esque and very, very French. Writing fluently about both searing emotion and cold detachment, Sagan takes us on very real journeys of psychological development. The overall effect, therefore, is perfect for the kind of lazy summer afternoon when you don't want to expend too much effort in thinking, but want to be drawn in and bestowed with some interesting thoughts anyway.

May 19, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two novels in this edition, written by the young and insightful teenager from 1950s French society, Francoise Sagan.... initial impressions have "chick-lit" in the frame, but after due consideration, this is provocative stuff from one so young... I have to admire her insight and ability to convey the emotions of lust, jealousy and unrequited love, though this is surely semi-autobiographical in nature... recommended to be devoured in an afternoon.
Michelle Keill
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
So French it hurts - but in a good way. Beautiful writing, and poignant observations. It breaks all the 'rules' that exist now for style, which for me shows why those rules are there to be broken. A book(s) I'll definitely revisit when I'm older and, hopefully, wiser.
Nadia King
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent read. Loved that it pushed the boundaries for its time.
Eny Rebel
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
Хагацъя даа, гуниг минь
Сайн уу, гуниг минь
Хана, таазны дээр ч сийлэгдэж
Хайрлан ширтдэг нүдэнд минь шингэсэн чамайг
Хамгийн золгүй уруул хүртэл харааж зүхэхдээ
Хөнгөн инээмсэглэдэг болохоор
Хөөрхийлж яавч боломгүй ээ!
Сайн уу, гуниг минь
Сайхан чамайг хайрлахуйд
Тэр л хайрын хүчээр
Үзэмж гоо чинь улам тодорч
Үзэгдэх бие
Тэмтрэгдэх тэргүүн үгүй атлаа
Үлэмж том мангас адил биежих ажаам
Үзэсгэлэнтэй юм аа, гуниг гэдэг
Catherine Read
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Happiness is a flat expanse without landmarks. Hence, I have no precise memory of that period in Cannes . . ."

I picked up this book at Hatchard's in London at the suggestion of the young man at the front register. The book is remarkable for having been the first novel of a 17 year old French writer that was published in 1954 and became a sensation. This Penguin Modern Classic is actually two novels (the quote above is from "A Certain Smile") more recently translated than the originals of the 1
Shona Macdonald
I wasn't overly charmed by this particular 19-yr old's first effort; while it is oddly frank for the time period, by the 3rd chapter it comes across as petulant rather than honest and there is nothing here that cannot be found in Fitzgerald's Rosemary in This side of Paradise. The ending was horribly Gatsby-esque and...the whole storyline was very overdramatic and just smells too much like Fitzgeralds' exhausted pastel-colours of an indistinct France at an indistinct time with not half of his un ...more
Tomas Howells
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015-favs
okay getting rid of 15 year old tomas’ review. i considered this my favourite book after i first read it, now i’m 18 i think my liking of it shows my questionable moral judgement and lack of self awareness that i had at that age.
Tom Lee
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Bonjour Tristesse is a mournful but beautiful book about the excitement and selfishness of adolescence, the appeal and danger in being utterly carefree.

In some ways it made me think of Hideous Kinky, and how liberated parents create these fascinating, precocious little people by smashing something of the child inside them - not intentionally, not cruelly, but upsettingly and disquietingly.

Cecile is one such child, someone who it would be hard to describe as innocent - at 17 she is aware and pro
Pat Morris-jones
Small and perfectly formed. Enough said.
Nimue Smit
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
beautiful description of the awakening of sexuality and family feuds - and the writer was so young!
Amy Prosenjak
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Great line: "The previous evening was gradually becoming clearer in my memory...when you are drunk you say things that are true and no one believes you."
Paige La Marchand
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[This is the text of the book reviews from episode fifty-eight of my podcast, The Pageist.]

This episode’s book reviews are two novels by Francoise Sagan. Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile. The versions I read were both in one edition by Penguin Modern Classics, translated by Heather Lloyd in 2013. These are the unexpurgated versions of the books. Certain passages had been cut when initially issued in the fifties, though reading it now I couldn’t figure out which ones they’d be without the he
Nick Rogers
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally. I’ve finished. I don’t mean that with sarcasm or irony; more of a Au Revoir Tristesse, as it is a sad couplet of novellas. But all the same, they are quite charming and do y.

Françoise Segan was 17 or 18 when she wrote Bonjour Tristesse in the 1950s, and then A Certain Smile was published a year or so later. I had heard of Segan from my mother, I think, who has always had a love affair with French culture, language and literature. In fact affair is the perfect noun for these two stories,
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, france
These two short novels - almost novellas - are both very French, and of their time. They are French in the sense that they are very reflective, wordy, willing to examine and theorise about subjects such as love and morality, not just tell a story. Both have the same, self-conscious, self-examining tone, and the voice of the young narrator is very similar in both novels - not surprising of course since they both represent Sagan herself. There is the same, even, meditative and somewhat disillusion ...more
william ellison
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

There is something stylish about the emotional intelligence of a young French woman especially when coupled with the detachment with which Sagan endows her heroines. Here are two first person narratives varying between the lightness of a young girl's fancy and the hard reflectiveness of an existentialist outsider. Cecile in BT is triumphant in her accession over circumstance and the duality of passion and distaste, ultimately tinged with sadness. Dominique in ACS comes unstuck when sh
Aug 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review of Bonjour Tristesse
An elegant and eloquent short novel about love and deception. It was a very enjoyable read, despite the protagonist being rather young, selfish and unlikeable. It surprises me that Sagan was only 18 when this was published, as it is so well written and has emotional depth. The writing is simple but powerful. I myself found it interesting how, despite everything that happens over the summer, Celine and her father revert back to their previous way of life - I think that
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bonjour Tristesse - This story was absolutely fantastic, everything about it was amazing, the plot, the characters were all so decadent and hilariously "intellectual" that the ending came as a huge shock. It was beautifully written, wonderfully translated by that matter!

A Certain Smile - Strangely quite different from Bonjour Tristesse but at the same time had a beautiful writing style and excellent characters. Halfway through the novel the character being bored bores the reader, though this is
Vanessa Wu
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These two novellas are nice and short. They are very beautifully written. You might not like the narrator but she knows what she's about. Bonjour Tristesse is deservedly very famous but its immediate impact on French society was because of its immorality. Actually I think the book has depth. The introduction to this edition by Rachel Cusk is very illuminating and sensitive. But, I don't know, I think there is still more to this book than Rachel Cusk allows. It has a certain sensual quality that ...more
Nicole Garton
Mar 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-fiction
On my plane ride home from Paris, I found a great fiction book (which I seldom do) at the London airport. I read the whole thing on my flight home and instantly fell in love! It's a collection of two short novels by Françoise Sagan - Bonjour Tristesse and A Certain Smile. They were written in the early 50s by a young, French girl who failed out of the Sarbonne. Lots of interesting themes - and I'm jealous I didn't write it! She's called the French F. Scott Fitzgerald... only it very much reminde ...more
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it
3,5 stars.
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Makes me want to read / speak French so I could enjoy this delicious pair of stories in the original language.

Perfect for beach reading on îles de Ré cette semaine!
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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 w