A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan (1956)

A certain smile by Francois Sagan (1956)

From the United Press review of A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan (1956):  A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan (translated from the French, Un Certain Sourire)  is that rare delight, a second novel that fulfills the promise of the author’s first. Young as Miss Sagan is, her writing is imbued with a maturity so naturally presented as to seem not in the least surprising.

Here, as in Bonjour Tristesse, Miss Sagan’s heroine is a young girl acting out of purely selfish motives, and finds herself embroiled in something far beyond her capabilities.


Dominique enters into an affair with Luc, the uncle of a fried, knowing in advance that he loves his wife and cannot therefore love her, as his mistress. She enters the affair because it seems to offer relief from the humdrum routine of their lives; because they like each other; because the possible consequences seem negligible.

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Bonjour Tristess cove

See also: Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan

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Françoise, Luc’s wife, may be hurt if she finds out about it, but not very hurt; Bertrand, Dominique’s boyfriend hardly seems worth considering; and Françoise may fall in love with Luc, but — well, knowing the danger in advance put it beyond the realm of the possible.

It is the quality of remorse which Miss Sagan so delicately weaves into her tale, and the candor and delight of the telling, that in this story substitute a sort of fragile tenderness for immorality. Wisdom, charm, and that aspect of beauty known as youth set this novel apart as they did Miss Sagan’s first, Bonjour Tristesse. 

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A Certain Smile by Francoise Sagan

A Certain Smile by François Sagan on Amazon

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More about A Certain Smile by Françoise Sagan

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