La Chamade

La Chamade, is a story about two very different kinds of love, a 1966 classic French novel, and a book I wish to have discovered a long time ago instead of now.

It is about a 30 year old lady, Lucile, leaving a 50 year old man to be with a young guy named Antoine. What an unoriginal storyline, even back in the 60s, but Fran├žoise Sagan made all the difference. Just follow Fran├žoise Sagan, and read every sentence carefully into each character's mind, you will learn so much about why men and women need one another (or not).

What does La Chamade really mean? In French, it is a military term means a signal by drum or trumpet inviting an enemy to a parley. You will need to read the book to know what it really means in the story.

The novel was made into a movie in 1968 -- English name is "Heartbeat"; poorly translated into "Farewell" in Chinese (see the poster above). A 2009 newly translated version of the book in English was named That Mad Ache .

From merely reading the words, I couldn't quite understand why Lucile could behave and think the way she did without scaring those men away. After seeing a few clips of the movie on youtube and visually seeing the young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve as this Lucile, I immediately understood why -- do not underestimate the power of beauty and youth.

Here is a short clip with Lucile and Charles sitting on the bench, meeting Antoine and his older girlfriend (in a red coat).

This is one of my favorite quotes in the book, coming from Lucile's 50 year old original boyfriend. He said to Lucile when she wanted to leave him for Antoine --
"You will come back to me, Lucile. I love you for yourself. Antoine loves you for what you are together. He wants to be happy with you; that's the way it is at his age (30). I want you to be happy independently of me. All I have to do is to wait."

This is one of my favorite paragraphs, describing Lucile and Antoine's relationship when they finally got together --
Even in their most tender moments, there was something disquieting and violent between them. And if at times they suffered from this uneasiness, they also knew strangely, that if it disappeared in either of them, their love would vanish with it.

If you have nothing special to do on this Valentine's Day, and if you are brave and curious enough, get yourself a copy of La Chamade and fall in love!

1 comment:

Jacinta said...

Dear Alice, I got this book in Feb2010 and I finally finished it this week. Still, I can really understand Lucile, her detachment from all, yet, it is a very good novel.