Quick Reviews: Gigi and the Cat

Gigi and The Cat by the acclaimed French writer, Colette, are two novellas published together by Vintage and I read them as part of Women in Translation Month.

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What is this book about?

Gigi and The Cat consists of two stories: one is titled Gigi and the other, The Cat. Translated from French, both the stories adeptly capture the vivacity of the fin de siecle in Paris.

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Gigi is about the eponymous protagonist, ebullient girl of 15, dictated by her grandmamma who lavishly rains on her several rules of how to behave like a woman. Both her grandmamma and mother think that she is a simple, childish, naive girl who is unable to understand the intricacies of class and its politics. However, when an admirable suitor, Gaston Lachaille, confesses his love to her, Gigi or Gilberte, employs her own tactic of figuring out how to handle the situation, breaking away from her grandmother and mother’s advice.

La Chatte or in English, The Cat, is a much more complex story narrated in rich, detailed prose. The Cat outlines the love of the protagonist, Alain, towards his beautiful cat, Saha. The story then unravels how his marriage to Camille Malmert affects Saha and Alain’s relation with Saha. The story takes a plunge into Alain’s thoughts and emotions toward Saha, Camille, and his life in general, especially his deep love for the house he grew up in. Alain’s love for Saha is clear in the way he fondly calls out her name (with an aspirated ‘h’) and behaves with her ever so lovingly. His instinct toward Saha and his ability to know her inside out irks Camille to a certain extent, though she does try to come to terms with the cat.

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The Bluest Eye

The recent demise of Toni Morrison was a truly big blow to the world of diverse literature. With her end, comes an end to a writer who stood up for lesser known and oppressed voices, who urged those who did not see themselves in literature to write their own stories, to voice themselves since each story and each voice matters.

I am not really sure of how I picked up Toni Morrison’s books. I remember reading and loving the subtleties in her books, Sula and Mercy, which are my favourites while the more darker and deeper, Beloved, was a tough read to grasp. Perhaps, I should give it a try once again to enjoy and understand it thoroughly.

One of the recent ones I read was The Bluest Eye which is now my favourite, toppling the previous titles.

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The Bluest Eye is her debut novel, a heart wrenching story of two black girls, Claudia and Pecola, and how the widespread racism in their society affects them both.

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Women in Translation Month!

Starting the Women in Translation month with this promising read:

Because August is Women in Translation Month!

Let’s celebrate it and put the limelight on more women writers!

When the Doves Disappeared is an intriguing tale about Soviet occupation of Estonia which is told through the interweaving of two separate timelines!

I am excited to dig into my first book from Estonia!

Click here to read more about Women in Translation month and about endless lists of books by women writers that have been translated.