Tag Archives: Irene Ash

SAGANF-BonjourTristesse

Hello, sorrow

Cécile , make no mistake, is a little brat. But I liked her. I could tolerate her. Because what saves this novel from Cécile’s push-and-pull of admissible naïveté and plain cruelty is the self-awareness of the adult-Cécile that narrates this story. We’re not talking to seventeen-year-old Cécile here—we’re being told about her by a decidedly more sane version of her. We can share in that Cécile’s careful remorse, her frustration with herself, her younger self, and her shenanigans. It’s the gift of hindsight, one that’s never abused as to coerce us into un-subtle meditations on the follies of youth. And it’s this hindsight that, somehow, lets us forgive Cécile her faults—it’s what lets one deal with the seventeen-year-old running amok the French Riviera; after all, who among us haven’t been this stupidly full of ourselves—or wished we were, then. And, perhaps, even now. [Continue reading.]