Short summary - Hello Sadness - Bonjour Tristesse - Françoise Sagan

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Hello Sadness - Bonjour Tristesse
Françoise Sagan

1950s France. The main character Cecile was born into a prosperous bourgeois family, for several years she was in a Catholic boarding house, where she received her secondary education. Her mother is dead and she lives in Paris with her father, Raymond. The father, a forty-year-old widower, flutters easily through life, not hiding from his daughter his connections with constantly changing mistresses. But he has no need to hide from Cecile: all this does not shock the girl at all, but, on the contrary, brings into her own life the scent of pleasant sensual sensations.
In the summer Cecile turns seventeen years old, and father and daughter and with their next young and frivolous mistress Elsa go to the Cote d'Azur to rest. But Ramone also invites the friend of his late mother Cecile, a certain Anna Larsen, his age, a beautiful, intelligent, elegant woman who promises to come back later.
On the day of Anna's arrival, a small misunderstanding occurs: Ramone and Elsa go to meet her at the station, but after waiting there for a while and not meeting anyone, they return home, where Anna is already waiting for them. It turned out that she had arrived not by train, but by her own car. Anna is located in one of the rooms of the house, and the resort life, now four of us, continues.
Cecile meets a beautiful student from the suburbs named Cyril on the beach and starts dating him. They swim together, sunbathe, ride a sailboat. Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the house is slowly changing. A silent rivalry begins between Anna and Elsa. The hot sun of the Mediterranean does not in the best way affect Elsa's appearance: her skin turns red, flakes, Anna, on the contrary, looks amazing: she is tanned, she has become even more beautiful, even slimmer. Elsa keeps talking nonsense and eventually bothers Ramone. Anna, with her intelligence and upbringing, could easily put Elsa in her place, but she does not do this, but calmly listens to her stupid speeches, does not react to them in any way, and this alone makes Raymon feel grateful. In general, Father Cecile is looking more and more frankly at Anna. One evening they all go to the casino to have fun. On this day, the final break between Reimon and Elsa takes place. Ramone leaves home with Anna, leaving his daughter and Elsa to have fun in the casino. And the next day, her father and Anna inform Cecile that they have decided to get married. Cecile is amazed: her father, who constantly changes his mistresses, who is accustomed to living merrily and noisily, suddenly decides to marry a calm, intelligent and balanced woman. She begins to think about it, tries to imagine how her life and the life of her father will turn out if he marries Anna. Cecile treats Anna very well, but she does not understand how Anna will suddenly become a member of their family. Then in Paris they will have to change their whole way of life, they will have to give up the pleasures that have become necessary for her and her father.
But while the sun, the sea, the feelings of summer happiness turn out to be stronger than anxiety and anxiety. She continues to date Cyril. Young people spend quite a lot of time together, and they have a deeper feeling than just friendship. Cecile is ready for physical intimacy with a young man, she is quite happy with the happiness at the moment. One day Anna notices them together, when they are half naked on the ground next to each other, and tells Cyril not to come to Cecile anymore, but to sit down the girl at her textbooks - after all, she needs to prepare for the philosophy exam for a bachelor's degree, which she has already failed once. and must take it again in the fall. Cecile is indignant at Anna's behavior, bad thoughts arise in her head, she scolds herself for them, but cannot get rid of them, although she understands that Anna is in principle right and wishes good for her and her father.
One afternoon, Cecile meets Elsa, who returns to the house to collect her things. Cecile convinces her that she needs to save her father from Anna, that in fact Ramone loves only Elsa, that the experienced and cunning Anna is to blame for everything, who set herself the goal of marrying her father and now holds him in her arms. Cecile arranges for Elsa to stay with Cyril for a while, then she tells them her plan to "save" her father. It consists in the fact that Elsa and Cyril must pretend to be lovers and often appear in full view of Raymon. Cecile hopes that he will be annoyed that Elsa so quickly consoled herself with another, will want to prove to himself that he left Elsa and that at any moment he can get her back. The daughter hopes that her father, wanting to prove to himself that he still attracts young women, will cheat on Anna and Elsa, and Anna will not be able to accept this and leave Raymon. This plan is quite successful. Everything is going well. Elsa and Cyril play their roles well, the blows hit the target. Ramone reacts as Cecile intended. The daughter is pleased that her plan is being implemented. But in her heart she understands that she is wrong, that it is impossible to do this with Anna. After all, Anna loves her father, and most importantly, her father also fell in love with her and is sincerely ready to change his way of life for her. But Cecile can no longer change anything, and does not want to. She is interested to know how well she understands people, whether she is able to identify their weaknesses and predict their actions, in general, how successfully she acts as a director. Meanwhile, Cecile can no longer tell Elsa and Cyril that she deceived them, that Ramone really fell out of love with Elsa. Cecile decides not to participate in this game anymore, but she is not going to reveal or explain anything to adults. She learns from Elsa that she is going on a date with her father, but now this news no longer pleases her. And a little later, Cecile sees Anna, who in despair runs to the garage. Anna is determined to leave immediately, because, having found Raymon with Elsa, she understands everything and makes an instant and firm decision. Cecile rushes after her, begs Anna not to leave, but she does not want to hear anything.
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In the evening, Raymon and his daughter are having dinner alone. Both feel that it is necessary to bring Anna back. They write her a letter full of sincere apologies, love and remorse. At this time, the phone rings. They are informed that Anna crashed on the road to Estril: the car fell from a height of fifty meters. Heartbroken, they leave for the crash site. On the way, Cecile, deep down, thanks Anna that she made them a great gift - she gave them the opportunity to believe in an accident, and not in suicide. The next day, when Cecile and her father return, they see Cyril and Elsa together. At this point, Cecile realizes that, in fact, she never loved Cyril. After the funeral of Anna Cecile and her father, they live for a whole month like a widower and an orphan, they have lunch and dinner together, they don't go anywhere. Gradually, they get used to the idea that an accident really happened to Anna. And the old life begins, easy, full of pleasure and entertainment. When Cecile meets her father, they laugh as they tell each other about their love victories. It seems to them that they are happy again. But sometimes at dawn, when young Cecile is still in bed and only the noise of cars is heard on the streets of Paris, memories of the past summer arise in her memory, and she again experiences the feeling that haunts her with "insinuating melancholy." This feeling of sadness.