Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)” as Want to Read:
That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation (Afterword)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  278 ratings  ·  34 reviews
That Mad Ache, set in high-society Paris in the mid-1960’s, recounts the emotional battle unleashed in the heart of Lucile, a sensitive but rootless young woman who finds herself caught between her carefree, tranquil love for 50-year-old Charles, a gentle, reflective, and well-off businessman, and her sudden wild passion for 30-year-old Antoine, a hot-blooded, impulsive, a ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published May 11th 2009 by Basic Books (first published 1965)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about That Mad Ache & Translator, Trader

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  278 ratings  ·  34 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
Lucile, a beautiful carefree woman of about thirty, lives happily and contentedly with a rich older man, Charles, as his mistress of two years. She's had a few affairs on the side, but she keeps the promise she made to herself and to him: she would never flaunt it in his face. Charles can't help but accept her for who she is: he's hopelessly in love with her and his only desire is that she reciprocated.

At one of the many dinners at a friend's house, Lucile meets Antoine, a poor young editor pick
May 05, 2009 rated it liked it
this ~210 page novel is accompanied by a 100 page essay on translation. okay hofstadter, we know you are adorable.

okay so i realize i still haven't gotten anything down on this & so for now am just going to paste in an email i sent john after, pretty choppy & having followed a more in-depth conversation but hey, it's a start; also want to note (& so remember) john's snarky comment, "it's like it was written by someone who's never heard of derrida!"



But do I, a mere
The Nike Nabokov
Nov 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Even minor Sagan is better than most writers major work.
N Kalyan
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had stumbled across Ms. Sagan's landmark works - Bonjour Tristesse, Un Certain Sourire - in my teen years and they faded quickly enough from my memory. So, it was refreshing to bring an adult perspective to reading this tale of a confused young woman looking for love in Paris. It's an entertainment of sorts, but I found the Afterword by Douglas R Hofstadter, the translator (yes, he of the eternal golden braid: Godel, Escher and Bach), really interesting, if never theoretically profound.

As a t
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I seem to be adding 3 stars to almost every book I read these days! There isn't anything earth shattering about the novel- it's a simple story, at times a beautiful one, about the passion between two lovers. The title is actually a loose translation of Sagan's original title, La Chamade, which embodies that "mad ache" one feels in the throes of love. What I liked a good deal about the book is that Sagan- and the translator- perfectly capture that emotion, which is almost inexplicable. We've all ...more
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in foreign language lit
This is a lovely story, set in 60s Paris so very chic but also rather charmingly quaint. None of the characters are really that likeable, but Sagan really gets into their heads so I found myself empathising with pretty much every one at times.

What really set the book apart for me though was the attached essay by the translator, that made me think so much more about the fact that i was reading a translation, and how that translation had come about... I'd started reading the story but then curios
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-lit, read-2009
A beautiful novel set in 1960's Paris. Lucile is a carefree young woman that wants nothing more than to idle her days away reading, napping, walking around the city, and waiting for Charles, her companion of two years, to come home. At a party she meets Antoine, a handsome young editor who has been snatched up by Diane, a rich older socialite. Lucile and Antoine quickly tumble into a romance that neither of them expected nor are able to control. Lucile must decide weather to stay with Charles, h ...more
Casey Black
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Françoise Sagan is the French Jane Austen of the 1960s. Interested now?

Sure, there are a million books about love affairs and dull or bored people with too much money or not enough money at parties, but Sagan always lends a fresh tone, new observations, and it is apparent that she deeply loves even her smallest characters.

Sagan's usual, knowingly irresponsible, girlish protagonist is fun to read here as long as you aren't annoyed by the type, and the ending rings true without being overly melod
I loved the etymology of "la chamade" (that mad ache) at the end of the novel! As in "Bonjour Tristesse", Sagan exposes the inner thoughts of a young French woman as she attempts to navigate the social mores of the 1960's, high-society Paris. I like Sagan's sometimes brutally honest appraisal of human relationships, especially as they deal with love. There is a realism that resonates with me, and even when her protagonists behave badly, there is an empathy that I appreciate. I can't address the ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Apr 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Women who flirt and their affairs! Parisian women and affairs! As a woman, should I should choose the well-off businessman who is 50 gentle and reflective or the 30 year old Antoine who is hot-blooded and struggling to make it?
Yes, what flavor of ice-cream do you want? By the way, we never said that people can be tried like pairs of shoes, even though some approach it this way. Just weigh your options, take your pick, and you can pick and choose. So much for love! So much for devotion! So much
Gianna Mosser
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
There is a feminist in Lucile somewhere, if you can get past the whole high-maintenance right to do nothing with your life. I thought the relationship with Antoine was relatable, that the audience could certainly feel the ache. Not a bad read, though certainly not vying for a spot in the canon.
Elayne Laken
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The language is so rich, metaphorical and descriptive, I'm sorry to see this beautiful albeit tragically romantic story come to an end.
Yasmina Walker
May 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Lucile, a woman of her 30s, is a carefree spirit. Her only interests are attending parties with her wealthy boyfriend, Charles. At one of these parties, she meets Antoine. Antoine is everything that Lucile is not. He is hard working, does not have much money and wants to do something with his life. A strong attraction develops between the two and their lives change. As much as I wanted to like this story, I just couldn't. The characters were too flawed and unlikable. I could not understand the m ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
At times delightful, however the idle behavior of the rich and/or trifling was not overwhelmed by their charm. I did enjoy some of the characters, even if I didn't always agree with their behavior. The Translator, Trade essay was long (100 pages), but gave very interesting insight into the process.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Didn’t read the translators essay, so this is only for the novel.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
I'd acquired this book simply because I wanted to read Douglas Hofstadter's 100-page essay, "Translator, Trader: An Essay on the Pleasantly Pervasive Paradoxes of Translation." Hofstadter here is not as interesting or thoughtful as Edith Grossman - in fact I thought he came across as a well-intentioned dilettante (I don't read French but if the quality of his translation is comparable to his indexes, then That Mad Ache might not be so good). I enjoyed his extended metaphor of translator as dog-o ...more
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sagan
"One should never smoke on an empty stomach, nor for that matter should one partake of alcohol, drive fast, make love too often, tax one's heart, spend one's money, or do anything else."

I enjoyed this novel for the same reason I have enjoyed several of Sagan's other works - its smart, spoiled and utterly hedonistic protagonist. Lucile is a kept woman of Parisian high society who becomes torn between the dependability of Charles, her ageing beau and benefactor, or her much younger, much less pred
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, europe
I'm obsessed with a French film from the 1960's called La Chamade. Catherine Denevue, Paris, an Yves St. Laurent Wardrobe... it's gorgeous, sophisticated and stylish. When I found out there was a book upon which the film was based, I ordered it right away.

This is the story of a kept woman who holds on to her carefree adolescence (and avoids taking responsibility for her life) by staying in a relationship with a wealthy, older man who is enamored by her youth and beauty. But when she becomes pass
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sagan's short novel is brief in plot but immense in character and observation, and Hofstadter's translation brings a vigor to the language that's often lost when stories are moved to English. It's rare to find such well-imagined and complex characters (although Antoine could be a bore at times) in such a short space.

I've rarely trusted a translated novel enough to read it, but Hofstadter's essay at the back--as lengthy as the novel itself--addresses many of the concerns I've had about reconcilin
Danie P.
Aug 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
Lucile is a young 30 year old living with a wealthy older man for two years now. Although she isn't head over heels passionately in love with him she loves him dearly and imagines that's how it will be forever.
Antoine ruins that picture. He and Lucile hit it off at a dinner party in Paris and immeadiatly have an intense passion for each other.
In my opinon Lucile is spoiled. She doesn't work, only cares for what is happening at the exact given time and enjoys lounging and living off others. She
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned
I thought this was an OK book. I didn't get fully into it until about 1/4 to 1/2 the way in. And once I did it didn't seem to go anywhere. It's not a bad story though. It seemed to be a pretty accurate portrayal of 2 young couples who find themselves infatuated with the wrong significant others. Which made it out to be a somewhat depressing story. I was up in the air about the book until I read the end and felt it redeemed it worth a little.

I would only recommend this book to someone if they ne
Aug 07, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2010
It's become increasingly more important to me in a book the quality to present a world that is otherwise inaccessible, whether because its settings are in the distant past or because it describes a social world or landscape distinct and faraway. This, and more, was what I found here, a lovely introduction into Parisian high society of the 1960s, which is the backdrop to a young woman's journey through love and passion. I also thought the characters were wonderfully and richly developed. As for n ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I hadn't read Francoise Sagan since I was in high school, when I had to do a translation of "Bonjour Tristesse" for class. What fun it was to read "That Mad Ache", which seems like a frivolous tale of the overprivleged in 1950's Paris, but is actually an insightful character study. The main character, Lucile, is so immature frustrating as a person, but compelling enough to hold your attention. The other side of the book is "Translator, Trader" which is an interesting mini-book (100 pp) about the ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Francoise Sagan writes an extrodinary character analysis of a sensitive, bright, irresponsible young woman, 30 year old Lucile. Mistress to and well kept by Charles, her 50 year old lover who needs to be needed, Lucile falls in love with Antoine, her age, and has a passionate affair with him. It is the story of a rootless woman, who desires no responsibilities and who is forced to examine two very different kinds of love and make a choice. Set in Paris in the 1960's, I simply did not care about ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read Bonjour Tristesse a few years back and thought it was brilliant...That Mad Ache (La Chamade) was just as great. The story is about Lucile who is involved with Charles, a much older (yet handsome) man who meets Antoine and they embark on a passionate affair. Lucile is torn between these two men and the different love that she feels for them both. I have to admit that the title of the book intrigued me and all falls into place on the last page. Beautiful book. PS. Although I loved the whole ...more
Jun 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well I was apprehensive that I had not picked up to read a "lighter" book when I picked this up-- the 100 page essay on translation loomed heavy (and being who I am, I knew I would feel compelled to read it). So I am delighted to say that I loved Sagan's novel and found Hofstadter lovely, inspiring and even a wee bit jealous. Well worth the read, both parts and a book that I will keep, contrary my intention when I picked it up.
Diane C.
Aug 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book takes a bit to get going, but the conclusion is a compelling read. Loved the characters, Francoise Sagan's writing and plan to read the rest of her books.

It's so refreshing to read a book with a protagonist full of flaws, kind and loving, yet weak and not noble. Lucile has little self determination, just a survival instinct and yet still, you like her and hope things turn out alright for her.
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a story of a young French woman who lives with her 50 year old benefactor. She drifts through a high society, pressure- less life until she meets a young man that is also a rather kept man in the same social circle. This book is quite sensuous and follows their affair and the decisions that she makes.
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's been a long while since I read Bonjour Tristesse. Nothing in the novel really places it in the time frame of the 1960's rather it reminded me of Colette... especially the 'Cheri' stories which I just read (as well as seeing the movie.) This has a languid and romantic appeal. I haven't yet finished the accompanying essay on translations, but it is very interesting.
May 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, favorites
I enjoyed La Chamade/That Mad Ache, but then I'm a sucker for a Parisian romance, and a 1960s one to boot. What's more, I loved that the book included an essay by the translator, Douglas Hofstadter, which discusses the art of translation.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lelia: The Life of George Sand
  • Sacred and Profane: A Novel of the Life and Times of Mozart
  • Subtly Worded
  • Memoirs of Montparnasse
  • Liebe ist nur ein Wort
  • Marianne
  • Tratado de culinaria para mujeres tristes
  • Of Mistresses, Tigresses and Other Conquests (Great Loves, #4)
  • Women in Evidence
  • For You, for You I am Trilling These Songs
  • Aka
  • Fish, Blood and Bone
  • Songs of Enchantment
  • The Madonna of the Sleeping Cars
  • Aija
  • Lust, Caution and Other Stories
  • Portrait of a Man Unknown
  • Traplines
See similar books…
Born Françoise Quoirez, Sagan 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
“Nothing brings on jealousy like laughter.” 223 likes
“He knew this euphoria of hers: it was the euphoria of being alone.” 9 likes
More quotes…