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Retreat From Love

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  151 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The final novel of the famous Claudine series, this book is filled with the luminous insights that mark Colette's later work. Retreat from Love tells of sexuality and love in a variety of forms. Translated and with an Introduction by Margaret Crosland.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 11th 1980 by Mariner Books (first published 1907)
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Jennie Rogers
I don't understand why this isn't in the Complete Claudine other than Colette wrote this alone. It's a thoughtful & great completion to the Claudine series. A mature exploration on ageing & seasoned love. So essential !

Maybe the best Claudine, it's between this & Claudine Married for me.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, reread
I wouldn't describe the story as does the synopsis given by Goodreads. This is a lovely book, the last in the Claudine series and one Colette wrote after her separation from Willy. Her love of the country and wonderful descriptions of nature and the animals that surround her there is what makes this book special.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
The last of the Claudine series that don't have Willy's name attracted to the credit. I'm still not sure why this wasn't included in the "Complete" collection. I would not recommend this to someone who has never read the previous Claudine series. Like the other books, it just starts withe the story. You have to know the characters beforehand too. This book's style I noticed was a little different too. Kind of reminded me of a simpler Virginia Woolf novel. It felt more mature than her previous no ...more
I picked up this book at a bargain price at my favourite bookshop in Melbourne, Readings, back in September. I've read a couple of other Collette novels. And like the others, the language in this novel, even in translation, is superb. The novel centres on Claudine, her heroine in quite a few novels, and loosely semi-autobiographical. She is awaiting the return of her older husband who is recovering in a Swiss sanatorium at her friends Annie's house in the countryside. While she is awaiting her g ...more
Kathy Ahn
Jun 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
I personally found this book interesting, but not that great. However, the writing is stunning. Colette is gifted at descriptions that are straightforward and seemingly simple, but are incredibly rich. Her metaphors are imaginative and visceral. My favorite from this book was the pimple popping as a metaphor for resisting temptation (p134). You just try to write something like that yourself and you can see how gifted she is.

I didn't know this when I picked it up, but this book is the last in the
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, own
It could be that because of my own stage in life I enjoyed this more than the preceding ones in the series, just as I'd probably have loved "Claudine at School" if I'd read it at 14. Some lovely reflections on love and on the indelible marks we leave on each other.
Rachael Eyre
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Continuing on my Colette binge, I picked this one because Harold Bloom includes it in his Western Canon. This was actually my least favorite of the the 5 Colette books that I've read in quick succession (the others were Dialogues de bêtes, Cheri & The Last of Cheri, and The Vagabond). Fundamentally, I never believed the central love story between Claudine, the narrator, and the absent Renaud. Perhaps I would of liked the story better if I had read the 4 previous Claudine novels. I quite enjo ...more
Jen Well-Steered
Ce que j'ai aimé: Colette est le maître des signalements et de la métaphore. Elle amine les sentiments, le cadre, et les pensées de ses personnages merveilleusement.

Ce que je n'ai pas aimé: L'héroïne est frustrante, car elle se manque des emotions. Elle est completement calme en face d'un avenir incertain.
Nov 25, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book seems to be missing context - i don't like any of the bored rich characters. The story, for turn of the century seems especially sexually liberated. The point seems to shock. Didn't want to finish it but it is my bookgroup book.
Une écriture qui me jette à terre par sa justesse, sa finesse, ses images, sa sensibilité. Il y a des passages très intéressants dans ce roman mais j'ai trouvé ça long. Pas mon préféré mais j'étais contente de retrouver cette Annie affranchie.
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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.
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