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Description - Gigi by Colette

Gigi Translated by Boger Senhouse, The Cat Translated by Antonia White. Gigi's days are filled with cigars, lobster, lace and superstitions: the education of a future courtesan. Bored and unconvinced by what she's taught, Gigi surprises all with her approach to love. In this classic turn-of-the-century novella, Colette unveils Gigi's journey into womanhood in rich and supple prose. This edition includes The Cat translated by Antonia White.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099422754
ISBN-10: 0099422751
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 10mm)
Pages: 160
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 4-Oct-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Gigi by Colette

UK Kirkus Review » This latest edition of two of Colette's most sparkling stories will introduce a new audience to the lifestyle of the rich and famous in Paris at the turn of the century. 'Gigi' and 'The Cat' are two very different love stories. 'Gigi' examines the relationship between men and women in a way which may seem alien to a modern reader, while 'The Cat' gives a whole new perspective to the idea of 'three's a crowd'. Gigi is a nubile young 15-year-old. Headstrong and charming, beautiful yet insouciant about the effect of her beauty on those around her, she is being schooled by her grandmother and aunt to enter Parisian society as a courtesan. This is a world light years away from prostitutes in red-light districts or even madams in high-class brothels: Gigi must learn about choosing cigars, cutting ortolans and eating lobster - etiquette is as important as sexual prowess, and the entrapment of a wealthy man is tantamount to a military campaign. The lover selected for Gigi is an old family friend, Gaston Lachaille, a wealthy roue with something of a reputation for lecherous behaviour. Despite the difference in their ages (Gaston is 33), Grandmamma and Aunt Alicia are determined to bring the couple together - not with any matrimonial plans in mind ('We never marry in our family') but purely as a business arrangement. Gigi, however, has known 'Tonton' for years, and resists any attempt to be press-ganged into his bed to suit the schemes of her family; she is an old-fashioned romantic at heart who believes in true love. The heroine of 'The Cat', an altogether darker and more disturbing tale, is a voluptuous young bride, Camille, whose relationship with her new husband is threatened by his long-standing affection for his pet cat. This unlikely premise lends itself to a tale full of bitterness and despair, rampant jealousy and frustrated sexual passion. Alain is powerfully attracted to his beautiful wife, yet nurtures a sense of dislike and coldness towards her. Camille has an almost feline grace, constantly insinuating herself into her husband's arms; but always she knows a part of him belongs entirely to his cat Saha. Colette gradually increases the tension - Camille finds it increasingly unbearable to share a house with her Russian Blue rival, and eventually she takes drastic action, with terrible consequences. Colette has a reputation for erotic writing, yet it is her subtle insights into the machinations of men and women as they conduct their relationships which she finds endlessly fascinating. These two stories are perfect examples of her consummate skill at combining sensuality and wit. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Colette

'Me a feminist?' She scoffed in 1910. 'I'll tell you what the suffragettes deserve: the whip and the harem'. Colette was an intriguing and flamboyant figure. Born Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in Burgundy in 1873 she moved to Paris at the age of 20 with her husband, the writer and critic, Henry Gauthiers-Viller (Willy). Forcing Colette to write, Willy published her novels in his name and the Claudine series became an instant success. She escaped her exploitative first husband to live by her pen and work in music-halls as a dancer. Colette had a lesbian love affair with Napoleon's niece, she married three times, had a baby at 40 and at 47, preferring 'passion to goodness', she seduced her teenage stepson. In the meantime she wrote stunning novels that were admired by Proust and Gide - Gigi, Sido, Cheri, and Break of Day. Colette lived to be over 80. She was the first woman President of the Academie Goncourt and was the first woman in France to be accorded a state funeral.

Books By Colette

Duo by Colette
Paperback / softback, June 2016
Vagabond by Colette
Paperback, June 2010
Cheri Cheri by Colette
Paperback, January 2009
Cheri (Dodo Press) by Colette
Paperback / softback, October 2008