An exquisite new translation of Colette’s tragicomic masterpiece, a pair of novels exploring the relationship between an aging courtesan and a much younger man.
Chéri and its sequel, The End of Chéri, mark Colette’s finest achievements, in their brilliant, subtle, and frank investigations of love and power. Set in the Parisian demimonde in the last days of the Belle Époque, Chéri tells the story of Léa, a courtesan at the end of a successful career, and her lover, the beautiful but emotionally opaque Chéri. Chéri will soon enter into an arranged marriage, ending their six-year affair, which—they will each realize too late—has been the one real love of their lives. The End of Chéri picks up their story in the aftermath of the First World War; as a psychically wounded Chéri begins an inexorable descent, he finds he cannot return to the Léa he left.
With a preface by the acclaimed Lydia Davis, Rachel Careau’s lean, attentive translation restores to these classic novels their taut, remarkably modern style—the essence of Colette’s genius.
About the Author
Colette (1873–1954) authored numerous works, including Gigi, The Vagabond, and the five Claudine novels. She was the first woman elected president of the Académie Goncourt.
Rachel Careau is the recipient of a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship. She lives in Hudson, New York.