Review 1494: #1920Club! Chéri

I haven’t read any Colette for a long time, so I thought it would be fun to read Chéri for the 1920 Club. It is the story of Léa, a middle-aged but beautiful courtesan, and her young lover, called Chéri, set in 1913.

Léa has been with her spoiled, childish lover since he was a very young man, but now his mother, Madame Peloux, thinks it’s time he was married. So, he and Léa prepare to part. Once parted, though, they both realize that they loved the other more than they thought.

Colette’s world of wealthy and stylish early 20th century Parisians is in some ways more foreign to me than stories about cultures much further removed. I couldn’t help feeling how sterile are lives lived only for pleasure. Also, I don’t really understand the attraction of a young man who behaves like a petulant child. But this is part of the realization that Léa finally has, that it’s about time he grew up.

The descriptions of people, rooms, and clothing are evocative and lovely. Despite my not being over fond of it, this is a masterly examination of the human heart.

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7 thoughts on “Review 1494: #1920Club! Chéri

  1. Christina Gibbs April 13, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    I’ve not read any of Colette’s writing, because I never knew much about it. Now I think I should read this book. Thanks for the review!

  2. Reese Warner April 13, 2020 / 9:02 pm

    I thought about reading this, but I probably won’t. But glad you did & glad to read your thoughts!

    • whatmeread April 13, 2020 / 9:12 pm

      One advantage to it. It’s quite short. Really a novella.

  3. Naomi April 19, 2020 / 12:57 pm

    I’ve noticed a lot of people reading Colette recently – maybe they were all reading for the 1920s club! Sounds interesting.

    • whatmeread April 19, 2020 / 4:54 pm

      Not sure. I guess when Simon publishes his list of reviews, it’ll come clear.

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