Bonjour Tristesse: A Novel (Paperback)

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Bonjour Tristesse: A Novel By Francoise Sagan Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Cécile is 17 and living a languorous existence with her womanizing father, Raymond on the French Riviera for the summer. They spend their time sleeping on the beach, attending parties, and gambling at the nearby casinos. But when Raymond decides to marry a woman who doesn't share their enthusiasm for their hedonistic lifestyle, Cécile fears that the life she has grown accustomed to is over and will do anything she can do to prevent changes, with tragic consequences. At one point after a night of drinking and dancing Cécile exclaims, "What a debauch!" and I think that perfectly sums up the entire novel. It's a really good time with characters who you will love/hate and a setting that makes this book perfect for summer reading.

— From Elizabeth


A sensational 1954 French novel that has become a contemporary classic

Set against the translucent beauty of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesse is a bittersweet tale narrated by Cecile, a seventeen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood, whose meddling in her father's love life leads to tragic consequences.

Endearing, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old Cécile is the very essence of untroubled amorality. Freed from the stifling constraints of boarding school, she joins her father—a handsome, still-young widower with a wandering eye—for a carefree, two-month summer vacation in a beautiful villa outside of Paris with his latest mistress. Cécile cherishes the free-spirited moments she and her father share, while plotting her own sexual adventures with a "tall and almost beautiful" law student. But the arrival of her late mother's best friend intrudes upon a young girl's pleasures. And when a relationship begins to develop between the adults, Cécile and her lover set in motion a plan to keep them apart...with tragic, unexpected consequences.

The internationally beloved story of a precocious teenager's attempts to understand and control the world around her, Françoise Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse is a beautifully composed, wonderfully ambiguous celebration of sexual liberation, at once sympathetic and powerfully unsparing.

This special Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition includes an introduction by Diane Johnson and a P.S. section with additional insights about the book and author.

About the Author

Françoise Sagan (1935-2004) was only eighteen when her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, was published. Her other novels include Incidental Music, A Certain Smile, and The Painted Lady.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780061440793
ISBN-10: 0061440795
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Publication Date: June 17th, 2008
Pages: 160
Language: English
Series: P.S.