'The sap had dried up; the sap, the incentive, the fever, the desire to do, to act, to act the fool, make love, create'
A middle-aged woman breaks with her handsome young lover; a placid husband is suspected of infidelity; and a dying man reflects on his extramarital affairs, in these tales of love and disillusionment from the author of Bonjour Tristesse.
Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.
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 full for the first time.
Bonjour Tristesse tells the story of Cécile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry - with devastating consequences. In A Certain Smile, which is also included in this volume, Dominique, a young woman bored with her lover, begins an encounter with an older man that unfolds in unexpected and troubling ways.
Both novellas have been freshly translated by Heather Lloyd and include an introduction by Rachel Cusk. Heather Lloyd has also written a new afterword for this edition.
Françoise Sagan was born in France in 1935. Bonjour tristesse (1954), published when she was just 19, became a succès de scandale and even earned its author a papal denunciation. Sagan went on to write many other novels, plays and screenplays, and died in 2004.
Heather Lloyd was previously Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Glasgow, and has published work on both Bonjour tristesse and Françoise Sagan.
Rachel Cusk is the author of Saving Agnes (1993), which won the Whitbread First Novel Award; A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother (2001); and Arlington Park (2006), shortlisted for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her most recent book is Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation (2012).
'Funny, thoroughly immoral and thoroughly French' The Times
'Late into the night we talked of love, of its complications. In my father's eyes they were imaginary. . . This conception of rapid, violent and passing love affairs appealed to my imagination. I was not at the age when fidelity is attractive. I knew very little about love.'
The French Riviera: home to the Beautiful People. And none are more beautiful than Cécile, a precocious seventeen-year-old, and her father Raymond, a vivacious libertine. Charming, decadent and irresponsible, the golden-skinned duo are dedicated to a life of free love, fast cars and hedonistic pleasures. But then, one long, hot summer Raymond decides to marry, and Cécile and her lover Cyril feel compelled to take a hand in his amours, with tragic consequences.
Bonjour Tristesse scandalized 1950s France with its portrayal of teenager terrible Cécile, a heroine who rejects conventional notions of love, marriage and responsibility to choose her own sexual freedom.