On Our Bookshelves: Bonjour Tristesse

NOVEL: Bonjour Tristesse

AUTHOR: Francoise Sagan


Dazzling sunshine, shimmering heat, beaches, excessive carousing in the French Rivera are quintessential elements needed for an amorous and exotic adventure romance.

But in the same setting, Francoise Sagan’s 1954 debut novel, “Bonjour Tristesse” tells a much grimmer tale of intrigue that befalls a carefree high-school dropout.

Having failed a big exam, Cecile spends her summer with her 40-year-old playboy father and his sexy brunette mistress in a rented villa in Southern France.

Soon, there’s a male suitor, a meddling personality, and a poorly executed plan.

Bonjour Tristesse is anything but chick lit. It is jealousy, infidelity, and recklessness tossed into the excitable hands of youth.

And perhaps not intended, the story also tells a moral to all step-parent-designates: the brats are dangerous.

RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): Four Whistles.


* Francoise Sagan was only 18 when her Bonjour Tristesse was published.

* The above review is based on the 1958 Penguin English edition translated by Irene Ash. Ash’s English translation of Bonjour Tristesse is available online for purchase.


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