Chéri is one of the most honest, sensual, and poignant breakup stories ever written. First published in 1920, it was instantly greeted by Marcel Proust and André Gide as a masterpiece and today remains Colette’s most admired work.
Léa de Lonval is an aging courtesan, a once famous beauty facing the end of her sexual career. She is also facing the end of her most intense love affair, with Fred Peloux—known as Chéri—a playboy half her age. But neither lover under-stands how deeply they are attached, or how much life they will give up by parting ways. A classic portrait of French manners before World War I, Chéri also captures a lasting truth about the connections between sex, love, and feelings of mortality. This new edition includes The Last of Chéri, an epilogue in which Colette depicts Paris reeling in the aftermath of war, at the start of the Roaring Twenties.
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“Chéri is [Colette’s] masterpiece.”—Michael Straight, The New Republic
“A wonderful subject [treated with] intelligence, mastery, and understanding of the least-admitted secrets of the flesh.”—André Gide
Colette (1873–1954) published some eighty volumes of fiction and nonfiction. She also had careers as a newspaper reporter, screenwriter, and musichall star. Acknowledged in her lifetime as a master of modern French prose, she was the first woman admitted into the Académie Goncourt.
Judith Thurman is the author of Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, which was awarded both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Salon Book Award for biography. She is a regular contributor to The New Yorker.