intense sensations

Sensual and precocious

Posted on: August 18, 2011

Claudine at School (Vintage Classics)Claudine at School by Colette
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am going to cheat a bit because I’m reading The Complete Claudine but I only want to review Claudine at School for now. I dislike long reviews and most long books, so, whereas I have reservations about The Complete Claudine, I like Claudine at School.

The first dozen pages are brilliant. The description of Montigny is as good as anything I’ve ever read. Even in English the descriptions roll off the tongue and create luxuriant images in your mind’s eye. You can tell the author is very sensual and thinks about sex all the time.

The way Claudine establishes an immediate intimacy with her English teacher, Aimée, is also brilliantly conceived and executed. This is wonderful, wonderful writing and I was melting with pleasure reading it.

But, shortly after this, the author introduces several ludicrous plot twists that stretch credulity. They are charming and funny in their way but the situations become caricatures of reality and Claudine loses her charm and becomes cruel, spiteful and selfish.

I lost patience with her but fortunately the book is short. And I have not lost patience with Colette, whose works I am continuing to explore. I will eventually read the other Claudine novels but for now I might take the Complete Claudine off my shelf and dip into something else.

View all my reviews

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