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Colette's sympathetic portrayal of her two main characters, Lea and Cheri, does not keep her from examining their faults and frailties. Both are rich, spoiled, and self-absorbed. But both are lonely, despairing, unfulfilled persons. She does not let her characters find joy in a society that forbids their liaison. They are allowed only an affair, not a life-long love, which is what they both wanted. Deep in the subtext is Colette's condemnation of a society that elevates the importance of money, no matter how achieved; that demands that couples abide by rules of proper pairing; that rewards and condemns vice at the same time.
The reader is faced with a dilemna: Is Lea at fault for ruining Cheri for a real world? Did she sacrifice herself by letting him go? Was she wrong in doing so after molding him into a useless toy. Is Cheri's mother the villain for allowing her son to be corrupted from puberty on by her friend? Possibly not, in Colette's world. Colette was sympathetic to the plight of women and celebrated those who gained some control over their lives--as Lea and Charlotte did.
The Last Of Cheri by Colette. At the end of Chéri the young Chéri left his aging mistress Léa on the eve of his marri. Buy The Last Of Cheri (Vintage Classics) New Ed by Colette (ISBN: ) from Amazon's Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on.
Is the destruction of Cheri Lea's and Charlotte's fault, or is he so spoiled and rigid that he insists on his own unhappiness if he cannot have what Lea he wants. In spite of his many faults, I sympathize with Cheri, rather than Lea. He is the victim, petted, protected, indulged, spoiled, until he knows only one way to view himself, as a toy, nothing but a toy. Without Lea he could possibly carry on, but he has a mother and a wife who alienate him and lead their own lives, ignoring his isolation and desperation.
In fact, desperation is a word that describes both Lea and Cheri. One wonders what might have been if. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Having had no more of an awareness of Colette than her name in the history of literature, I decided it was time to delve into a few of the noted French novelists of the late 19th and early 20th century. I was not disappointed, but rather swept up in the sentiment and literary style of those times.
The dialog is laced with innuendo, often metaphorical and subtly insulting, as Colette captures the individual motivation behind each character's thoughts and words. In that I am also in a relationship with a man 24 years younger, of course I was drawn to the seeming parallel with the book's theme: And, beneath the surface of Cheri's pampered self-centeredness and Lea's hedonistic vanity the author reveals the predominant fear that exists in many of us: The ending is poignant yet redemptive in the harsh light of a striking final revelation of the motives of both characters.
If there was anything I did not care for about this book, it was the rather crude translation into English. But then, French is so much more romantic, sensual and suggestive than English. You just have to put yourself in a "French state of mind. Bottom Line first Colette's Cheri and the Last of Cheri delve into a world of people who exist on their surface qualities and measure life in terms of what wealth can buy. While focusing all of your attentions on what people are on the outside, you are subtly directed to appreciate the existence of deeper human needs.
I am new to Colette, and I wonder why she is so much ignored in mandatory reading lists and in lists of modern writers. Whatever the quality of the translation what comes through is mostly primary colors and hard talking people, who may not be what they project. This is literature and deserves more prominence.
Book one ends with Mme. Peloux, Cheri's mother arranging a marriage for her boy to an equally wealthy and more respectable daughter of society. He now lives as an observer. His wife and circle of friends give themselves to what may be noble or greedy post war causes while he begins to react to his shallow and emotionless life. From the beginning we see Cheri real name Fred Peloux as more like an animal than a human.
He is fascinated by comforting objects. The real pearl necklace of his lover Lea has always worn will become something of a running theme and telltale for judging other characters. Certain themes will exist throughout the first book. Lea is always seen as in the last stages of her exceptional beauty but both the objects around her and her circle of friends will always be described as decayed, worn and having lost their looks and command of style. Everyone has money and money buys security but no protection from time. Cheri is mostly described as an animal. He is cunning; possessed of the survival skills he learned from the hired help.
He has enough looks and money to be arrogant and hard to please. Never are we witness to his capacity for any of the nobler human traits. He can wound but he is the one who get mollified. In the second novella, Cheri dominates the narrative. He continues to prowl Paris and reacts to the surfaces, smells and physical traits of a world that is becoming too small.
His wife could have become a love match for him, but she is absorbed in a world past him. She may have a lover, but she is still open to the possibility of marital sex in what has become a sexless marriage. The dedicated sensualist that was Cheri in book one has come to the end of his interest in things sensual. What he lacks is a vocabulary or an ability to understand anything beyond surfaces. His struggle with this problem is the conflict that will bring us to the end of these books.
She becomes something the action is related to, cotrasted with, rapported by, a human constant of sorts. Nonetheless, she is vastly different from the falling domino drama of Enigma Otiliei , where all characters but two are unchanging and the other two grow as their little world breaks down. The quality of Collette's writing is such that the reader is enticed despite himself, herself, myself - because I dislike realism.
As I said, not my cup of tea. Foi adaptado ao cinema por Stephen Frears. Mar 10, Emma Care rated it it was amazing. Sep 11, Sara Cranwell rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 28, Wayne rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: A wonderful look at the cultural trappings that every society brings to the most natural and urgent of natural instincts - consequently and ironically well and truly "fucking" it up for just about everybody.
I enjoyed "Gigi" and "Cheri" once I'd got my head around the sexual culture of certain segments of French Society of the Fin de Siecle. Its ironies, possibilities of great wealth,its pitfalls,its A wonderful look at the cultural trappings that every society brings to the most natural and urgent of natural instincts - consequently and ironically well and truly "fucking" it up for just about everybody. Its ironies, possibilities of great wealth,its pitfalls,its children and the consequences of ageing are all touched on.
And its obsession with "a good marriage" must be one of its biggest ironies. Where exactly could that fit in in this cultural entanglement of status, wealth and survival? And of how the two lovers find their own solutions and survivals in a world rigid, unforgiving, unsympathetic and ruthless. A tale of sadness and resolution, resignation and acceptance, as only Colettte can serve it up. Oh, Colette, you are a gem!!! I think this was the wrong book for me at this time.
However, it would never be a favorite as I found the pace too slow. Colette gives beautifully written descriptions so I can understand why some would appreciate her writing more than I did. Aug 04, Claudiu D. Romanele astea Belle-Epoque desi Cheri a fost publicat in au ceva aparte. Eu le asociez cu o perioada a vorbelor frumoase, in care o disputa personala era purtata cu zambetul pe buze si cu fraze mestesugite, pline de ironie.
E o perioada a frumosului in toate, dar prea ornamentat, uneori obositor. E o perioada in care femeile controleaza tot, dar o fac cu o feminitate iesita din comun, isi cunosc toate atuurile si au o eleganta aparte. Desi in Cheri este vorba despre o fosta curtezana ad Romanele astea Belle-Epoque desi Cheri a fost publicat in au ceva aparte.
Desi in Cheri este vorba despre o fosta curtezana adica o prostituata de lux nu este nimic vulgar in ea, in dialogul ei. Dar exista si "crapaturi" in discursul ei si iti dai seama ca nu face parte chiar din lumea buna. Chiar recomand sa fie urmarite cu atentie replicile Leei. Eu nu cred ca asta este tema centrala a romanului, ci felul cum percepe Lea imbatranirea. Capitularea in fata batranetii si reunoasterea faptului ca asta a fost.
Relatia cu Cheri este doar un paravan pentru a ascunde o durere mult mai mare. Un citat definitoriu pentru roman: Ai vazut ce inseamna tineretea! Nu te multumeste, dar tot la ea te intorci May 11, Elizabeth rated it it was ok Shelves: This is more like a 2.
I read this book to practice my French and if you are reading the book for the same reasons Colette is both a good and bad choice. Good because she uses a lot of different words I now know a bunch of ways to describe how people lean on things lol , but bad because some of her words are so Her French was also kind of difficult for me at times that I had to l This is more like a 2.
Her French was also kind of difficult for me at times that I had to look up a translation then again, my French is rusty. Anyway this is a frustrating book to rate, much less review, because throughout much of the book I absolutely hated it, but Colette also addressed, rather masterfully I have to admit, much of what I had hated about it in the last twenty pages or so of the novel my copy was pages, btw. So about the first pages of the novel is maybe a Therefore, if I find the romance unconvincing or weak or whatever, then the whole story falls apart for me.
This is exactly the case with this book. I never got the sense they truly loved each other in the way that Colette wanted me to feel about them and so that made the story much more slow-going because the entire time I was thinking, 'BUT WHY!!!
I just couldn't get into their relationship because of that detail. Most especially because Colette never really addressed it, which made little sense to me. Why did she make that decision? Oh my God, I thought, am I gonna have to keep dealing with this?? About how difficult life is for him even though everyone loves him and makes excuses for him because he's young and so, so pretty. I'm sorry life is so tough for you, kid!! Colette is by turns sympathetic and unsympathetic towards her. But she's still portrayed as very passive and submissive--ie.
But now I get to the last twenty pages, because all is revealed and you can see what Colette was trying to do throughout the novel: This really could've been a fascinating look at a somewhat unhealthy relationship--she who values him for his youth and he who subconsciously desires her because she acts in some ways like the mother he never had--but Colette focuses a little too much on the physical aspects of their relationship which I guess is the nature of their relationship after all rather than the psychological so the execution came off as really creepy instead of fascinatingly complex.
The trouble is Colette did too little too late for this story. By the time I figured out where she was going with this, I felt little for the characters and their predicament. Jan 14, Antonomasia rated it liked it Shelves: It isn't badly written, but only if it were written quite differently would I really enjoy it. Books can show such people's underlying thoughts and feelings, and the events that made them so disagreeable: This book seems not sensual, but bitter, jaded, and depressed, not even attempting to derive deep pleasure from one's surroundings.
This is a type of love which is some other force, animal and compellingly fated, not modern companionate love. These characters live on the surface in the worst possible way; they lack joy, enthusiasm, empathy, self-awareness and true engagement with their worlds. Yes, they can be analysed, but I could only enjoy reading about them if there were a narrative that dealt more explicitly with these aspects of personality. There is a terribly wasted opportunity as they each separately come to realise that they are in love: And this was too little too late after dragging myself through the emotional deadness that made the story feel three times longer than it is.
I quite forgave myself for having abandoned this book after a few pages, some years ago. As with difficult characters, it can be interesting to read about alien situations to gain a better understanding of them.
He is the victim, petted, protected, indulged, spoiled, until he knows only one way to view himself, as a toy, nothing but a toy. Cheri is mostly described as an animal. But then, French is so much more romantic, sensual and suggestive than English. What makes the novel so good is its honest and incisive depictions of the way that women deceive themselves. It's as if all the house fronts of Paris were thrown away leaving an open view of men and women talking, dressing, bathing, brooding and loving.
I suppose because Colette wasn't writing at a time when she had to explain or justify this aspect to any great extent, little space was devoted to it. But the lack of interiority made me wonder all the more "why? What did it mean to them? I'm afraid I resorted to a somewhat objectifying psychological analysis to get any satisfaction out of the story, though I would have preferred to understand the characters on more human terms.
I took the story as an example of what could happen if two people with avoidant attachment styles and poor-to-indifferent reflective and mentalisation capacity, raised in and living in a narcissistic and materialistic milieu, were to be strongly physically attracted to one another and subconsciously fall in love as a result of that attraction.
I wonder whether the world in which the novel is set was indeed the joyless, petty place it seems here. This book is so wonderfully written. Colette's treatment of relationships is excellent. She builds the characters and their interactions with each other quickly. I understand their world, why and how they are the way they are with each other. The last ten pages are the best f This book is so wonderfully written.
The last ten pages are the best for me and the most heart wrenching. When two people who love each other have been away from each other for months, the first feeling is relief to be back together, joy and pleasure. But then, reality settles in. How have they changed or not changed over the course of three months? Sometimes, just by being away from each other, out of context, they change because the world around them has changed.
What I love most about this book is that it's less a story and more a portrait of a relationship. The thing I love next most that's awkward I'm not fluent in French, so I didn't understand every single word I read. Yet, I didn't want to keep stopping to look up words or phrases. I wanted to read and absorb the story as I could with my knowledge of French, and I was really able to understand a lot through the tone of Colette's writing.
It's nostalgic and deeply sad yet also lovely and bittersweet. That really allowed me to understand the characters and their connections to each other without understanding every word. I found the dialogue in this book much more moving than the narrative. Colette's descriptions are lovely and vivid, but when the characters speak to each other, her writing really comes alive.
I found myself reading aloud to practice my pronunciation with feeling, really getting into the emotions behind the words. The arguments are passionate and display the chemistry between the characters in a way that not all writers can master. I'm glad I read this book in French.
There's something very expressive about an "Ah, la la! Or a switch in the use of "tu" versus "vous. Overall, I recommend this book very highly. Jun 24, Edward rated it really liked it. What to make of a "love story" between a woman of 50 and a young man half her age? She is attracted to him because of his youth, his good looks, his easy-going ways.
She appeals to him for her sophistication, both in her looks on which she expends enormous energy, and her exquisite taste in food and entertainment. But he, the "Cheri" of the title, marries a woman his own age, it being an appropriate thing to do, and the older woman Lea goes off on an extended vacation to try to forget her los What to make of a "love story" between a woman of 50 and a young man half her age?
But he, the "Cheri" of the title, marries a woman his own age, it being an appropriate thing to do, and the older woman Lea goes off on an extended vacation to try to forget her loss. Cheri becomes bored with his wife and returns to Lea where they spend one last night together before they both recognize the inevitable. Lea takes the initiative in sending Cheri back to his young wife, bluntly reminding him that she is an aging woman whose charms for him are going to soon fade. The twin gods of love and money that have been largely sustaining them only last for a limited time.
This sketchy outline of the plot hardly does justice to the commendable qualities of this 90 year old French novel that reads as if it were written today. What makes the novel so good is its honest and incisive depictions of the way that women deceive themselves. Lea sees her contemporaries succumbing to the aging process - the wrinkles beginning to appear around their necks, the disguised gray hairs making their appearance, in one case an old dancer who is experiencing the first deformations and pain of arthritis.
She feels the humiliation of having an older man, Colonel Ypoustegue, size her up and pass over her for the company of younger women. In view of all this, the affair with Cheri is a way of living in the moment, in the present, even though Lea realizes very well that the moment, as with all moments, is fleeting.
A parenthetical remark about reading the book in French. I discovered that I could download a French-English dictionary and use it as my default one. Colette has an extensive French vocabulary and if I were using a bound dictionary to look up even a fraction of the words I didn't know, I'd never finish the book. In using the pointer on the built-in Kindle dictionary, the reading process was made much more efficient and time-saving.
Cheri by Colette, centers around Lea and Cheri and their six year love affair. Respectfully 49 and 25 at the novels opening, both believe that their relationship to be casual until Cheri is to be married and realize that they were in fact in love. After Cheri's marriage they are separated for six months due to Lea's inability to cope with the new revelations.
When she at last returns Cheri visits, they have one last romp in the sheets and the next morning while Lea plans their future together, C Cheri by Colette, centers around Lea and Cheri and their six year love affair.