• Bonjour Tristesse

    it was pleasant to have idle thoughts, for it was summer

  • Traveler

    Bonjour Tristesse

    Words by Elisha Kennedy

    Françoise Sagan’s novel Bonjour Tristesse tells the story of Cécile, idling time away during a summer on the French Riviera. Sagan wrote this volume at 18, a story of the slow, intimate unravelling of Cécile’s youthful innocence, perhaps to mirror the loss of Sagan’s own. 

  • ‘It was ten o’ clock. I went down to the terrace in my pyjamas and found Anne glancing through the newspapers. I noticed that she was lightly, but perfectly, made up; apparently she never allowed herself a real holiday. As she paid no attention to me, I sat down on the steps with a cup of coffee and an orange to enjoy the delicious morning. I bit the orange and let its sweet juice run into my mouth, then took a gulp of scalding black coffee and went back to the orange again. The sun warmed my hair and smoothed away the marks of the sheet on my skin.’ 

  • On the first page of this novel, Cécile is made manifest through her breakfast. There is an intensity of the simplest flavours; a sweet orange, bitter black coffee – consumed in the fiery sun and the sensitivity of her surroundings. The private indulgence and vivid contemplation of what occurs around her sets the tone for this work. The perfect read for dreaming of summer; for salt air and cool morning swims; for long lunches en plein air and indolent afternoons. As Cécile ruminates ‘it was pleasant to have idle thoughts, for it was summer’.

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