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Jules et Jim

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,302 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Jules arrives from Austria in belle epoque Paris, where he is befriended by Jim. Together they embark upon a riotously Bohemian life, full of gaiety, color and bustle. And then there is Kate, the enigmatic German girl with the mysterious smile.

Capricious, untamed and curiously innocent, Kate steals their hearts in turn, and so begins the moving and tender story of three
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Paperback, collection folio, 242 pages
Published March 1st 1979 by Gallimard (first published 1953)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  1,302 ratings  ·  91 reviews


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Ian "Marvin" Graye
Menage a Quatre

At the heart of this novel is a menage a trois between two men (Jules and Jim) and various successive women (Lucie and Kate).

It's told in the third person, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Jules (view spoiler) is the implied author. We get a fair amount of insight into each of the participants, which differentiates the novel from the likes of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" (which still occurs very much inside one or other of
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Manny
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Psycho bitches, people dating psycho bitches
Recommended to Manny by: Pierrette
Jules (short, German, philosophical) and Jim (tall, French, romantic) meet in 1907 and immediately become best friends. People wonder if they're gay, but they're not: they just really like each other. They always seem to end up dating the same women, and live a wild and complicated life. After a while, they both fall for beautiful German Kathe, who's the original psycho bitch from hell. She hangs out with each of them in turn, has children with them, falls into fits of jealous rage and abandons ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Jules et Jim is one of the most famous celluloid love stories of all time. It is the story of a love triangle between two Germans (Jules and Katie) and a Frenchman (Jim) in early 20th century Europe, it is the story of a threesome who sought to redefine love and the heartache which is caused by this plan. It is, however, a little known fact that the story is partially based on actual events and is based in the criminally unknown novel of the same name, by Henri-Pierre Roche. The novel is one of ...more
John
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, favourite-reads
My interest to read "Jules et Jim" was peaked after seeing Truffaut's film adaptation of the novel, a cult-classic made up of memorable moments unravelling at an awkward pace. Not quite sure of what to make of the film, my only thought about the work (the core of the work -- the novel that inspired it) was that it must have more to it than what meets the eye.

The book lived up to this expectation. The awkward pace is all there; a series of simple, precise sentences that present themselves
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El
Jun 16, 2008 rated it did not like it
Jules and Jim become friends in Paris and share much of their life together - particularly their women. It's a story of Bohemian Paris in the early part of the 20th-century, plenty of love (er, lust) and cigarettes and alcohol and free will.

Kate, a German woman, enters the picture, especially striking Jules' fancy. He initially asks Jim not to make any advances towards her, but ultimately Kate turns to Jim for the desire she is lacking with Jules. There is very little conflict surrounding this
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Vanessa
I haven't seen the famous film of this novel, but I know people that I have, and they have all sung its praises. When I saw this book in the library (I wasn't even aware the film was based on a novel before!), I couldn't resist snapping it up. It was an easy read, but the subject matter wasn't as lighthearted as I'd assumed from reading the blurb on the back.

Anything to do with bohemianism, Paris, café culture and free spirits tends to lure me in where books are concerned, but I was surprised to
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Stephen
I liked it. The language was simple, short and to the point..apparently it's actually a 'social revolution' masquarading under pages full of lust.
The word 'love' is thrown around quite a lot. In my eyes, Jules starts out as a pompous idiot but then matures into a man while the other two (Kate & Jim) remain blissfully ignorant children, completely prey to their wills and wants.

Unlike a lot of books that I read, this one was easy for me to rate, I liked this book. I didn't think it was amazing
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Paul Secor
I'm rating this on memory. Read it years ago because I loved Truffaut's film. I enjoyed the book a lot then, but I should give it another reading.
Maureen
Aug 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: novel, french
The story of Jules and Jim and Catherine was turned into one of Francois Truffaut's most beloved movies. Its big, messy plot is set in Europe, during and after the first World War. A shy writer, Jules, becomes friends with Jim. They have various adventures with young women until they meet Catherine. Catherine and Jules fall in love and get married, but Jules is always there: more outspoken, and not shy in revealing his affections for Catherine. During the war, the two friends fight on opposite ...more
Carol
Aug 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Probably read in the 80s when I first saw the film. 3/4/29 re-watching the film ...more
Meghana34
Jules, Jim and Kathe are three friends who lead simultaneous lives. Jules and Kathe marry, divorce then re-marry. Jim and Kate are involved in an on-and-off relationship. Jim has been involved with a young woman, Gilberte, for years. Jules and Kathe have two daughters.

Jules is so in love with Kathe that he forgives her numerous love affairs. Kathe is a beautiful and stylish, but also self-centered, woman. (view spoiler)
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Ulla
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My grandmother bought me tickets to the Francois Truffaut movie "Jules et Jim" when I was 15 and it made a huge impression on me. It's not until recently (almost 40 years later) that I realized that the movie was based on a novel which in turn is loosely based on real-life experiences. I am not a huge fan of the book, but it is well written, though a bit tedious at times with many details of everyday quarrels between lovers, and it is interesting and unusual in the way that it is written with ...more
Lina
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Three stars in my rating system is a mediocre book. Mediocre because it was so difficult to like any of the characters in the book. Not even like but give a slight damn about them at all. Jules blended in to a wallflower somewhere in the middle and I had hopes for him. Despite sharing the title with Jim (and so much more), his fading siluette was my biggest regret.

Oh, these emotions... That weird love that is impossible to understand. All the love triangles and that artificial drama.

To read if
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Corley Elizabeth
I picked up Jules et Jim last July and never got around to actually reading it, mostly because I started losing interest. With COVID-19 and me self-isolating right now, I'm trying to knock out some of the books on my TBR. There wasn't anything wrong with this, I just wanted something with more characterization. The simplicity of the story, the way we're kept at a distance, might have been Roché's intention, but I didn't care enough to continue.
Jonathan
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ive owned a copy of this for years but have never given it my full attention. Im very glad I finally did. Roché is able to say so much in so few words. The story unfurls at breakneck pace, but it is a tale of emotion and struggle between friends (and lovers). It is no wonder that, upon picking it up, Truffaut knew he would make a film of it. ...more
Wilde Sky
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Two men have a relationship with a woman.

This was an unusual tale - it was quite interesting and evoked a different time. I couldn't help thinking that the characters could only live as they did because they had money.

Laura Malkin
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Jules et Jim. Joue Le Jim. Play Jim. Is Jules the tool of displeasure? Maybe my French is bad. Maybe I think too much idk!!
Gergana
May 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a very french novel. It is quite human and real. The book grew on me with every page. It does depict a beautiful piece of literature.
Jeffrey
The sparing, simple prose of Jules et Jim, spilled across the pages in repetitive, subject-heavy sentences, is at first hard not to appreciate. It is an old mans tale; the sentences feel like fossilized memories excavated from long-filled diaries, a sure medium of sagacity. Henri-Pierre Roche published the book, his first novel, in 1953, by then a septuagenarian. The work received very little critical attention and would only come to light after being found and promoted several years later by ...more
Phil
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much,on a par with the famous film,which i have watched countless timr

es over the years..Will no doubt read this novel again soon if I get he chance and watch the film again tonight
Georgia Meadows
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
'One and one make three'
This was one of those books which (shamelessly) attracted me by its cover, particularly the 'archaic smile' Kate bore dressed in male clothing, followed by her lovers. After reading the blurb I thought, 'how odd, exploring a polyamorous relationship in the early 1900's' odd it was indeed.
The characterisation was beautiful. Their flaws, their insecurities, their emotions were described and depicted with such honesty. Jim and Jules are like the dapper George and Lenny,
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Livinginthecastle
There was a recent newspaper review of the third film of the Before trilogy, Before Midnight, which tried to figure out why we find that particular couple so fascinating and it concluded it was because they talked to each other. They had great, sweeping conversations about anything and everything; sparring with and confiding in each other, being the ultimate spiritual best friends and soul mates writ large on the silver screen. I was expecting that with Jules et Jim, but what I got was three ...more
Joan
This is the book from which François Truffaut made his iconic film. It's the story of two friends, Jules and Jim, who both love Kate, who marries Jules, divorces him to marry Jim, but doesn't, and goes back to Jules, but continues her affair with Jim, not to mention other men. She's basically a selfish, self-centered woman, and it's hard to see why they love her. One can understand, perhaps the initial attraction, but these relationships span the period from 1907 until well into the '30s, when ...more
Geraldine
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was deeply moved by the novel even though it was written in an unvarnished autobiographical style. As surprising as life, "Jules et Jim" is a recollection of memories stitched together by variant storylines as told by each character of a ménage à trois (Jules, Jim, and Kate).

Kate's character is perhaps the most arresting personality that is disturbing at the same time; her unpredictable nature renders her an invulnerable force to be reckoned with, but one that leaves those she captivates
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Megan
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
A strange book. I had a hard time relating to the fact that it is set early in the 20th century, since it feels like it's set in the Sixties. Roche gives exceedingly little detail, yet I felt like I was well acquainted with the characters almost straight away. There isn't much dialogue, but the tone of conversations is easily imagined.

Kate is as exciting a character as any, but she is so selfish, she feels unreal. She'd have been a reality tv star if she were written for 2011. Everything she
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Wendy Crittenden
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites
Wow... this book surpassed all my expectations. I was initially weary of being disappointed in it as the film adaptation is one of my top four favorite Truffaut films, but soon found my weary disappeared within the first pages read. This is by far the only novel and film adaptation that I have found where each strongly stands on its own. By far the best read I have had in a long long time, so much so that I am a little in shock. I want to lend it to all of my friends, and yet I find that I do ...more
Hemmie Martin
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I loved this book as a homage to the depths love can overtake you. The bohemian lifestyle is ever present and enjoyable to read. However, one of the female protagonists who appears half way through the novel and stays there until the end, is a unlikeable character. This makes for hard reading at times, as I had no sympathy for her and I was annoyed with the male characters for putting up with her.
Having said this, it's a classic and worth a read if only to visit bohemian Paris and all it has to
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Aleks
Jun 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Probably revolutionary for its time, but I found it really tiresome, pretentious and narcissistic. Privileged artists in early 20th century France/Germany detail their sexual conquests, have a tortured years-long relationship with the same woman, only mention the outside world in passing. Had to really force myself through it, especially after the mutual emotional abuse turns physical:

"At last!," she sighed to Jim, "at last a man who dares to beat me when I deserve it! You do love me, Jim!" She
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Ero
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-liberry
A remarkable book with an airy, delicate prose. Not a word wasted, though entire lives come and go within the course of the book.

I'm a little embarrassed though that the characters, in the first half of the twentieth century, live with more freedom and experimentation in their personal lives (at least in some regards) than anyone I've known in my own life. Apparently we're a generation of prudes and sexual conservatives.
Nadia Parbo
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Finally I know why I don't like French books from the sixties about bohemian life. I just don't get them. The people are pretentious and spoiled and the books themselves tries to hard they just become pompous in the end. All the liberty that Jules et Jim wants to promote just comes out looking like a prison of jalousy and distrust. Now, some would say that's the point. But I don't think so. Then again, maybe it is. Maybe I really just didn't get this book.
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“Soon after they went back, Jules said to Jim: 'I love Magda. But it's a habit; it's not a great Love, not the real thing. To me, she's like a young mother and an attentive daughter, both at once.' 'But that's fine!' 'It's not the love I've always dreamed of having.' 'Does that kind of love exist?' said Jim. 'Of course! My love for Lucie.' Jim checked himself from saying, 'Because you do not possess her.' 'Besides,' Jules went on, 'knowing myself as I do, I shall never be able to forgive any woman for loving me. To love me is a sign of perversion or compromise -- and Lucie doesn't suffer from either. There's not a particle of me that she accepts.' 'With her, any man could think that.' 'Yes, could...' said Jules 'But I do.' 'Oh well,' said Jim, 'it's heroic and one can't help respecting it. It's a bit like martyrdom. And it's the key to your Life. If Lucie loved you...' 'She wouldn't be Lucie.' said Jules.” 4 likes
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