hello sadness

IMG_8924IMG_8923An older gentleman asked me if we had literature in French. I said, we do but it’s in the very back of the store, follow me and I’ll show you where. It’s a bit embarrassing taking someone back there as they invariably laugh ‘You weren’t kidding, it is the very back of the store!’

He was looking for Francoise Sagan’s: Bonjour Tristesse. I apologized that the books were vaguely in order. As he looked on one shelf I stooped down and started digging through the first box; lacking confidence that we would find it. I picked a pile of books off the second box and my eyes focused on the purple & white lettering. I chirped, grasping the book ‘I found it!’ I handed it to him and he immediately turned to the Paul Eluard poem at the beginning of the novel and read it aloud.

IMG_8851I stood transfixed. My French is poor but the way the words softly spilled from his lips I understood why the cliche of young women falling in love with older Parisian men exists. He wasn’t reading for me. He needed to hear the words for himself and when he was done he quietly sighed ‘Perfect.’

He expressed how grateful he was I’d found it for him. We lamented the closing of bookstores of late and the loss of a great shop in the city that use to specialize in languages other than English. Personally, I would visit it for their excellent graphic novel section. He stopped to share the prize with his wife. I surreptitiously took this picture before they bought it and left.


Farewell Sadness
Hello Sadness
You are inscribed in the lines on the ceiling
You are inscribed in the eyes that I love
You are not poverty absolutely
Since the poorest of lips denounce you
Ah with a smile

Bonjour Tristesse
Love of kind bodies
Power of love
From which kindness rises
Like a bodiless monster
Unattached head
Sadness beautiful face

-Paul Éluard

  1. anidji said:

    That book is one of my favourites. I really love the cover of that one.
    Have you seen the movie by Otto Preminger? It gets the mood of the book pretty well, plus Jean Sebergh wears really fancy clothes (Givenchy in the 50’s).

    • lysette said:

      I haven’t seen Preminger’s film but now I will, thanks for sharing! I love Juliette Greco’s voice, my dad often plays her in the shop and hums along while pricing books. The book cover is great, simple but juxtaposed colors. It was only five bucks, I’m glad it found a good home.

  2. I was afraid to click on this one cuz usually it means a critter has passed.
    I saw the movie as well. Pretty decent.

    • lysette said:

      I was worried someone would think that! Luka is doing fine, slowing down but to be expected for a 12 year old shep. It will be beyond sadness when she passes on, it’ll be obliteration. I still need to watch the movie!

      • ameyfm said:

        I had the same thought. I’m glad your pup is fine though, and I absolutely loved this beautiful post. ❤

  3. lysette said:

    Thanks Amey ❤ ! Yes, with you and Shen also having elderly animal friends I would think the same thing if either of you posted a title like that. Thank goodness it's not the case!

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