A Certain Smile: A Novel

Overview

Françoise Sagan is best known for her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, which caused a scandal when she first published it at the age of eighteen in 1953. But her second novel, A Certain Smile, less shocking and more psychologically convincing, was preferred by many critics.  Like Bonjour Tristesse, this story is set in Paris in the 1950s and told by a young student bored by her law books, restless and curious about love and sex.  She is fond of her loyal boyfriend, but he, too, bores ...

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Overview

Françoise Sagan is best known for her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, which caused a scandal when she first published it at the age of eighteen in 1953. But her second novel, A Certain Smile, less shocking and more psychologically convincing, was preferred by many critics.  Like Bonjour Tristesse, this story is set in Paris in the 1950s and told by a young student bored by her law books, restless and curious about love and sex.  She is fond of her loyal boyfriend, but he, too, bores her.  His worldly uncle strikes her as more exciting, appealingly risky and forbidden. Frank and spontaneous, vulnerable and cruel, thoughtless and insightful, Sagan's young narrator explores such perennial themes as unrequited love and the precarious balance of irrational emotions and self-restraint.

This edition includes a new foreword by Diane Johnson, author of the best-selling novels Le Divorce and L’Affaire.
 
“The second book is now out, and so is the verdict. Sagan’s novel Un Certain Sourire, written in two months, is the new literary sensation of Paris.”—Time
 
“Miss Sagan is a technician of the highest order, working with exceptional economy and elegance in the tradition of Colette and Benjamin Constant.”—Atlantic
 
 
“The reader is given the feeling of having opened a young girl’s intimate diary by mistake. But whoever put such a diary down?—especially when the author is as sensitive, experienced, gifted and freshly talented as Mlle. Sagan!”—San Francisco Examiner
 
“[Sagan’s] style is honest, direct, and her dialogue true. But for her sake let’s hold back those invidious comparisons. Colette indeed! She might turn out to be Sagan.”—Saturday Review

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Editorial Reviews

New Yorker
“This book, written at 20, proves that Sagan is a born French novelist of style and quality.”
Time
“The second book is now out, and so is the verdict. Sagan’s novel Un Certain Sourire, written in two months, is the new literary sensation of Paris.”
Atlantic
“Miss Sagan is a technician of the highest order, working with exceptional economy and elegance in the tradition of Colette and Benjamin Constant.”
San Francisco Examiner
“The reader is given the feeling of having opened a young girl’s intimate diary by mistake. But whoever put such a diary down?—especially when the author is as sensitive, experienced, gifted and freshly talented as Mlle. Sagan!”
Saturday Review
“[Sagan’s] style is honest, direct, and her dialogue true. But for her sake let’s hold back those invidious comparisons. Colette indeed! She might turn out to be Sagan.”
Economist
“A popsicle of a book—a seasonal treat, full of flavour.”
New York Herald Tribune
“Françoise Sagan writes in the best French tradition, with real economy and restraint. . . . Higher praise no writer about love deserves.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226733470
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 385,801
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Françoise Sagan (1935-2004) was a French playwright, screenwriter and novelist whose works have been translated into many languages. She is the author of several books, including That Mad Ache and Bonjour Tristesse, for which she gained quick literary stardom upon publishing at the age of eighteen.

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