Au Revoir, Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature

Au Revoir, Tristesse: Lessons in Happiness from French Literature

by Viv Groskop


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A blend of literary history, memoir, and self-help that shows how French literature can bring humor, happiness, and romance to our lives

Like many people the world over, Viv Groskop wishes she was a little more French. A writer and comedian, Groskop studied the language obsessively starting at age 11 and spent every vacation in France, desperate to escape her Englishness and to have some French chic rub off on her.
In Au Revoir, Tristesse, Groskop mixes literary history and memoir to show how the classics of French literature can expose us to another way of living, infuse our days with joie de vivre, and teach us how to say goodbye to sadness. Groskop explores the frothy hedonism of Colette, the wit of Cyrano de Bergerac, the intoxicating universe of Marguerite Duras, and the heady passions of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. With chapters on Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert, Stendhal, Honoré de Balzac, Albert Camus, and, of course, Françoise Sagan, this is a delectable read for lovers of books and all things French.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419747885
Publisher: Abrams Press
Publication date: 06/08/2021
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,218,068
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Viv Groskop is an award-winning comedian, writer, and broadcaster. She is the author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons from Russian Literature. She writes for the Guardian, Observer, and Financial Times and is the host of the chart-topping podcast How to Own the Room, where she has interviewed Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, Margaret Atwood, and Julie Andrews. She lives in London.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Happiness is … pretending to be French 1

1 Don't judge yourself for being young and foolish: Bonjour Tristesse Francoise Sagan|21 (Or: Interfering in your father's love life can have dire consequences) 26

2 When memories visit you, soak them up: À La Recherche du Temps Perdu Marcel Proust

(Or: Find excuses to eat your favorite cake) 41

3 Sometimes you've just got to make the most of what you've got: Gigi Colette

(Or: Don't let someone publish your work under the name Willy) 61

4 No one can be truly happy while others suffer: Les Misérables Victor Hugo

(Or: There are times when you need to write in your underpants) 76

5 Self-deceit is the surest path to misery: Les Liaisons Dangereuses Choderlos de Laclos

(Or: Do not use your naked lover as a writing desk) 94

6 Do not judge your own happiness-Just let it be: L'Amant Marguerite Duras

(Or: Avoid excessive alcohol consumption) 112

7 True happiness may involve quite a lot of hypocrisy: Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert

(Or: Beware people who dump you by leaving a note in a basket of apricots) 128

8 Our greatest weaknesses conceal our greatest strengths: Cyrano de Bergerac Edmond Rostand

(Or: Be proud of your huge nose) 146

9 It's all very well to be ambitious as long as you are willing to pay the price: Bel-Ami Guy de Maupassant

(Or: The bigger the moustache, the greater the fall) 161

10 Social climbing rarely pays off, but you'll probably want to do it anyway: Le Rouge et he Noir Stendhal

(Or: Don't flirt with the woman who pays you to teach her children Latin) 180

11 If you're going to behave badly, then do it in style: La Cousine Bette Honoré de Balzac

(Or: Use your disappointing looks to fuel a campaign of revenge against your more attractive cousin) 195

12 Freedom matters more than anything: L'Étranger Albert Camus

(Or: Don't take a gun to the beach) 212

Conclusion: Happiness is not feeling that you have to pretend to be French 227

Acknowledgments 241

A Note on Other Writers 243

Recommended Reading 245

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