'Life without her would be death'
The lost novel from the author of The Second Sex.
The compulsive story of two friends growing up and falling apart.
INTRODUCED BY DEBORAH LEVY.
When Andrée joins her school, Sylvie is immediately fascinated. Andrée is small for her age, but walks with the confidence of an adult. Under her red coat, she hides terrible burn scars. And when she imagines beautiful things, she gets goosebumps... Secretly Sylvie believes that Andrée is a prodigy about whom books will be written.
The girls become close. They talk for hours about equality, justice, war and religion; they lose respect for their teachers; they build a world of their own. But they can't stay like this forever.
Written in 1954, five years after The Second Sex, the novel was never published in Simone de Beauvoir's lifetime. This first English edition includes an afterword by her adopted daughter, who discovered the manuscript hidden in a drawer, and photographs of the real-life friendship which inspired and tormented the author.
TRANSLATED BY LAUREN ELKIN. WITH AN AFTERWORD FROM SYLVIE LE BON DE BEAUVOIR.
Gorgeously written, intelligent, passionate, and in many ways foreshadows such contemporary works as Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend. ― Oprah Daily
About the Author
Simone de Beauvoir was born in Paris in 1908. In 1929 she became the youngest person ever to obtain the agrégation in philosophy at the Sorbonne, placing second to Jean-Paul Sartre. She taught at the lycées at Marseille and Rouen from 1931-1937, and in Paris from 1938-1943. After the war, she emerged as one of the leaders of the existentialist movement, working with Sartre on Les Temps Mordernes. The author of several books including The Mandarins (1957) which was awarded the Prix Goncourt, de Beauvoir was one of the most influential thinkers of her generation. She died in 1986.
Deborah Levy was born in 1969, studied theatre at Dartington College of Arts, and now lives in London. Her plays include Pax, which City Limits considred 'remarkable for its combination of intellectual rigour, poetic fantasy and visual imagination' and Heresies for the Royal Shakespeare Company, 'An ambitious, imaginative, sometimes funny, sometimes touching, passage across a terrain where moral parables and folk fancies meet' (Marina Warner, Independent). She has also published a collection of short stories, Ophelia and the Great Idea, and a novel, Beautiful Mutants, and, most recently, Swallowing Geography, all of which are published by Vintage.
Lauren Elkin is the author of several books, including Flâneuse: Women Walk the City. Her co-translation (with Charlotte Mandell) of Claude Arnaud's biography of Jean Cocteau won the 2017 French-American Foundation's translation award. After twenty years in Paris, she now lives in London.