I am definitely being inspired by the imagination and input of bloggers who are participating in Paris In July - I'm not sure a month will be long enough to get through all of the reading, listening and watching I want to do!
My first read for the month was Chéri by Colette. I had watched the recent movie version of the book earlier this year and while I had enjoyed the visual aspects of the film the content left me a little disappointed. The book has changed that for me though - I obviously needed the skill and magic of Colette's writing to convey this story to me.
Chéri is a young man who has been involved in a relationship with a middle aged courtesan, Léa, for about 6 years when his mother (another courtesan and acquaintance of Léa) arranges his marriage to another woman. It seems that Chéri and Léa do not realise their true feelings and need for one another until they have been pulled apart and the novel focuses on the outcomes of this for them as individuals and for the other people in their lives.
Chéri and Léa are both quite spoilt and self-obsessed characters in many ways - the type of characters I wouldn't normally be able to generate a lot of empathy for - but I did feel empathy and compassion for these characters as they expressed their feelings of loss and grief over the end of their relationship.
Colette's writing style is divine - a little more emotional and descriptive that I had imagined it would be for some reason but so beautifully emotive, it was probably her writing style that made empathy for such characters so easy.
I am keen to read more Colette now - any suggestions?