Gigi by Colette

Translated from the French by Roger Senhouse

Surprisingly, I knew hardly anything about Gigi before I read this novelette. I have never seen the musical and only vaguely remembered hearing anything about it. I think this was good. It made the story more riveting and delightful for me not knowing the characters or the outcome of the story beforehand.

So, unlike me, all of you probably know the Gigi story, therefore I won’t rehash the plot. But I will give my impressions. I loved Madame Alvarez and her sister Aunt Alicia. Their pronouncements on everything from jewels to actresses to motor cars were amusing and entertaining. The everyday details that Colette infuses her story with made it come to life for me. I relished reading about what the characters were wearing, eating and how they were styling their hair. It was endlessly fascinating. It gave me a glimpse into what life was like for them at the end of the nineteenth century in Paris.

How can any reader not adore Gigi? This innocent yet headstrong teen usurps the combined years of wisdom of her grandmother and aunt to achieve the desired outcome they had been scheming for – and more! She is a charming and fascinating character.

Seen through modern eyes this story is distasteful and kind of shocking, but completely entertaining when modern sensibilities are cast aside. I very much liked this and will seek out more of Colette’s writings in the future.

Fashions from 1899 - would Gigi have worn something like these?

Received

After a couple of months of not buying or mooching very many books I suddenly have books in the mail. I think one of the small pleasures of life is to come home from work and find packages waiting in my mailbox. Divine! So here is what I’ve recently received:

The Dark Tide by Vera Brittain ~ I’ve never read anything by Brittain or know very much about her, but I found this Virago for a good price on Amazon and snatched it up. The plot appeals to me.

Gigi by Colette ~ This was on my Bookmooch wish list and I thought it might be a possibility for Paris in July so I hurriedly requested it.

The Professor’s House by Willa Cather ~ I am an ardent admirer of My Antonia and have always meant to read more Cather.  I’ll add this to my collection of her books to read “someday”.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys ~ Earlier this year I read two of Rhys’ novels and a biography of her and am really intrigued by her as a woman and as a writer. I want to read her masterpiece sometime later this year.

I’ve got a couple more books on their way and then I need to stop. I already cringe at the thought of packing up my library for my move later on this summer and shouldn’t keep adding to the stacks when I really should be purging!

Have you received anything in the mail lately? Have you read any of these titles?