Cheri and The Last of Cheriby Colette
Two volumes of Colette's most beloved works, with a new Introduction by Judith Thurman.
Chéri, together with The Last of Chéri, is a classic story of a love affair between a very young man and a charming older woman. The amour between Fred Peloux, the beautiful gigolo known as Chéri, and the courtesan Léa de/i>/i>/i>/b>
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The great Colette's "Cheri" is an exquisite work, both linguistically and psychologically. The descriptive language is breathtaking, and the writer's fine-tuned sensitivity to nuances of emotion is truly extraordinary. I read the book after having seen the new film starring Michelle Pfeiffer, "Cheri", a magnificent masterpiece, rich in nuance and opulent detail, set in gorgeous Belle Epoque France. The film leaves us in a romantic mist, however, by omitting "The Last of Cheri", the companion piece, although arriving at the same denouement. The book glosses over nothing, however, and part two is a very brutal portrait indeed. Of course it is all about real love, sketched in chiaroscuro relief with all its imitations, social conventions, and the ultimate high cost and lethal effects of choices made not with the heart. After finishing the book, I felt quite shattered by this tragic tale so beautifully and relentlessly told by that ever precise anatomist of the heart, the ever-astounding Colette, who never removes her gaze nor dissembles. Her gorgeous language is not mere filigree but embodies the truth she tells in an even more profound fashion.
If you loved the movie you will love the book. The second gives one more of look into Cheri's depression which seems to be epic level gloominess. Poor Cheri!