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A never-before-published novel by the iconic Simone de Beauvoir of an intense and vivid girlhood friendship

From the moment Sylvie and Andrée meet in their Parisian day school, they see in each other an accomplice with whom to confront the mysteries of girlhood. For the next ten years, the two are the closest of friends and confidantes as they explore life in a post-World War One France, and as Andrée becomes increasingly reckless and rebellious, edging closer to peril.

Sylvie, insightful and observant, sees a France of clashing ideals and religious hypocrisy—and at an early age is determined to form her own opinions. Andrée, a tempestuous dreamer, is inclined to melodrama and romance. Despite their different natures they rely on each other to safeguard their secrets while entering adulthood in a world that did not pay much attention to the wills and desires of young women.

Deemed too intimate to publish during Simone de Beauvoir’s life, Inseparable offers fresh insight into the groundbreaking feminist’s own coming-of-age; her transformative, tragic friendship with her childhood friend Zaza Lacoin; and how her youthful relationships shaped her philosophy. Sandra Smith’s vibrant translation of the novel will be long cherished by de Beauvoir devotees and first-time readers alike.

176 pages, Hardcover

First published October 7, 2020

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About the author

Simone de Beauvoir

321 books8,157 followers
Simone de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher. She wrote novels, monographs on philosophy, political and social issues, essays, biographies, and an autobiography. She is now best known for her metaphysical novels, including "She Came to Stay" and "The Mandarins", and for her 1949 treatise "The Second Sex", a detailed analysis of women's oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism.

Simone de Beauvoir est née à Paris le 9 janvier 1908. Elle fit ses études jusqu'au baccalauréat dans le très catholique cours Désir. Agrégée de philosophie en 1929, elle enseigna à Marseille, à Rouen et à Paris jusqu'en 1943. C'est L'Invitée (1943) qu'on doit considérer comme son véritable début littéraire. Viennent ensuite Le sang des autres (1945), Tous les hommes sont mortels (1946), Les Mandarins (prix Goncourt 1954), Les Belles Images (1966) et La Femme rompue (1968).
Simone de Beauvoir a écrit des mémoires où elle nous donne elle-même à connaître sa vie, son œuvre. L'ampleur de l'entreprise autobiographique trouve sa justification, son sens, dans une contradiction essentielle à l'écrivain : choisir lui fut toujours impossible entre le bonheur de vivre et la nécessité d'écrire ; d'une part la splendeur contingente, de l'autre la rigueur salvatrice. Faire de sa propre existence l'objet de son écriture, c'était en partie sortir de ce dilemme.
Outre le célèbre Deuxième sexe (1949) devenu l'ouvrage de référence du mouvement féministe mondial, l'œuvre théorique de Simone de Beauvoir comprend de nombreux essais philosophiques ou polémiques.
Après la mort de Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir a publié La Cérémonie des adieux (1981) et les Lettres au Castor (1983) qui rassemblent une partie de l'abondante correspondance qu'elle reçut de lui. Jusqu'au jour de sa mort, le 14 avril 1986, elle a collaboré activement à la revue fondée par Sartre et elle-même, Les Temps Modernes, et manifesté sous des formes diverses et innombrables sa solidarité avec le féminisme.

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Profile Image for s.penkevich.
857 reviews5,912 followers
September 26, 2022
There’s a problem child in every family: and that’s me.

Written in 1954, Inseparable by the great Simone de Beauvoir was only recently released into print and provides a look into the author’s life and friendships that would help shape her existentialist works on freedom and gender. Best known for her monumentous work The Second Sex, which lit the spark for second-wave feminism, or her Prix Goncourt winning novel The Mandarins, Inseparable is a very intimate look at de Beauvoir’s real-life friendship with Élisabeth Lacoin, called Zaza, who appears in the novel as Andrée Gallard (Simone appears as narrator Sylvie Lepage). Zaza, who tragically died just before her 22nd birthday, was a major figure in Simone’s young life, the two of them deemed to be ‘inseparable’ by their teachers, and in this story we see the early gears of thought in young Sylvie’s mind on the confines of a religious and patriarchal society on young women and those who choose to seek an independence and uniqueness of self. Having been deemed too intimate for publication in the 50s, we are now graced with this moving portrait of friendship and struggle that foreshadows the philosophical works the great feminist existentialist would write throughtout her lifetime, being a sharp criticism of oppressive systems and religion that Beauvior found suffocating to being an authentic person.
Zaza and Simone (Andrée and Sylvie)

While the official story is that Beauvoir thought the novel too intimate and claimed it had ‘no inner necessity and failed to hold the reader’s interest,’ there is much speculation that it was the dismissal of the work by friend and philosopher contemporary Jean-Paul Sartre that caused her to lose faith in it. As Margaret Atwood states in the book’s introduction (she does not hold back against Sartre) that Sartre found the book trivial, shocked that ‘for a materialist Marxist…the book is intensely descriptive of the physical and social conditions of its two young female characters,’ and that it was inconsequential when ‘serious’ literature dealt with the means of production of factories and agriculture. Written five years after The Second Sex, it is tragic to see the points within her great work of philosophy be made so blatantly against her own novel and the notion that the interior life of a intelligent young woman be deemed trivial. The novel is quite engaging in fact, and Beauvoir’s prose (gorgeously translated her by Sandra Smith) is very fluid—something I’ve enjoyed with her philosophical works and have found them very readable and accessible. So without further adieu, let’s talk about this work that we are finally able to read because it hit me right in the gut and I love it for it.

Andrée was one of those child prodigies whose lives would later be recounted in books.

The dedication to Zaza at the start of Inseperable reads ‘If I have tears in my eyes tonight, is it because you have died, or rather because I’m the one who is still alive?’ Which, spoilers much? but also the framing of the novel knowing the tragic end even before beginning allows the reader to focus in with heightened attention on the emotional turmoil bubbling within the two characters that will lead to the untimely end of Sylvie’s great friendship. ‘When I was nine, I was a very good girl,’ the story begins, and Sylvie is soon acquainted with Andrée who’s bold and direct way of speaking beguiles and intrigues her as does her freedom to roam about the streets alone. The two become inseparable and while they both are top of their class their attitudes are deemed impertinent. Sylvie decides she will pursue individual freedom, inspired by Andrée’s own actions and beliefs such as when surreptitiously smoking she remarks ‘Mama forbids it; but when you start to disobey . . .’ which leads to her falling out of Christian faith.
I was resolutely determined to continue to eat, read, speak, and dream in whatever way I pleased. “I don’t believe in God!” I thought. How was it possible to believe in God and deliberately choose to disobey Him? I sat stunned for a moment by this revelation: I did not believe.

This lack of belief changes her perception on the world and in her outsider status as a non-believer she begins to observe how much human nature is restricted by notions of sin, especially women.

I still haven’t told Mama that I disobeyed her, and the worst part is that I’m not sorry.

While initially rebellious, the confines of society begin to close in around Andrée. At home she is hardly afforded a moment to herself, beleaguered by an ‘enormous family: a prison, whose exits were carefully guarded.’ At the head of the household is her mother, Madame Gallard, who is said to have refused her husband twice before being obliged to marry him, and through Sylvie we witness a view of how once independent women are not only torn from their beliefs, but social expectations corner them into being authoritative parents that then perpetuate the oppressive behavior upon their daughters. The belief that getting married is the purpose of a young girl’s life is shown here, though Sylvie observes that even a partner in marriage is less a choice and more an obligation imposed. Her friend is twice removed from someone she is romantically involved with due to parent’s belief that it is not the right match, and religious beliefs inform much of the resistance.

This even applies to Pascal (a stand-in for French phenomenology philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty), a man who ‘could be categorized as “a young man suitable in all respects”’ The mother demands Andrée be sent away until marriage so as not to be tempted to be in Pascal’s company, something that causes her extreme emotional distress and pressures Pascal to consider a marriage he does not find himself yet ready to enter. Which is all perpetuating a sad society of people being socially locked into actions that they are not emotionally ready for all for the sake of social manners and a fear of being ‘sinful’ if they follow their desires. This instilled fear of temptations of the flesh is part of what makes women view their own bodies with shame, de Beauviour writes in The Second Sex, adding a layer that the attraction of their body is sinful only burdens young women further and objectifies them even more.

Do I have to spend my life fighting with the people I love?

In The Second Sex, Beauvoir examines how narratives have contributed to the Othering of women, from myths to religious stories that have been used to treat women as subservient to men and enforce moral behavior. While Sylvie feels herself free from these worries of sin, she sees the obligations imposed on her friend’s relations as a restriction of freedom, a caging of women and men into unhappy lives and marriages for no reason beyond upholding a narrative. Andrée is an interesting person in this respect, loving out of pure intentions and upholding religious beliefs out of love while acknowledging many use religion as an instrument of oppression. ‘She had discovered, with outrage, the chasm that separated the teaching of the Gospels and the self-serving, egotistical, petty behavior of self-righteous people.’ In the afterword by Sylvie Le Bon-de Beauvoir, Simone’s daughter, she writes that for Andrée:
faith was not, as it was for so many others, a complaisant dependence on God, a means of being right, of self-justification or fleeing responsibilities but the painful questioning of a silent, obscure, hidden God.

Her belief in wanting to be good and wanting to be happy is frequently blocked by people who claim to be doing it for her own good. ‘We were only the instruments of God,’ says Monsieur Gallard when it is already too late, and here we see how religion also becomes a scapegoat to wash one’s hands of their complicity in oppression and Andrée’s own demise. She also demonstrates how it becomes a way to avoid acknowledgement of class oppression, seeing the poor as unclean and being that way due to sin, their status as upper class being a gift from God and under no obligation to deconstruct the class structure that they profit from and use to keep others beneath them. In The Ethics of Ambiguity, Beauvior writes ‘If we do not love life on our own account and through others, it is futile to seek to justify it in any way,’ condemning the way religion forces young women to push aside their identities and convictions to create one through the justification of religious narratives. The aspects of Sylvie being condescended by Pascal for not being a believer felt all too true living in a community where I see this in my daily life.

To be clear, Beauvoir’s criticism is not with religion itself, but in the ways it is wielded by others as a tool of behavior modification and subservience. She demonstrates how the narrative is used in ways that instill guilt and fear that is used to uphold systems that are in need of ethical refurbishing in order to be more equitable and humane.

Most impactful is when Sylvie observes ‘The grave was covered in white flowers. In some strange way, I understood that Andrée had died, suffocated by that whiteness.’ The book is a sharp critical look at the way whitewashing life and human nature restricts freedom and suffocates people, men and women alike. This is very indicative of its time, of course, and the sexual revolution was still a decade in coming, but the lessons still echo in our world today.

Zaza died because she tried to be herself and was convinced that such a desire was evil,’ states Le Bon-de Beauvior, and the novel functions as a chronicle on how Andrée’s desire to be good under the restrictions of social enforcement of behavior clashed with her desire to be a unique, loving individual and the friction of this due to her self-analysis as being sinful for simply being herself causes her to fracture mentally and physically. The book is a beautiful tribute to a friend now gone. As Atwood observes, the lessons Beauvior took from the time of friendship with Zaza blossomed into her philosophical lessons. ‘Perhaps she herself worked so hard to become who she was as a sort of memorial,’ Atwood writes, ‘Beauvoir must express herself to the utmost, because Zaza could not.’ It took decades to reach a mass audience, but I am thankful Inseparable has finally made it to print. This is a quick read but one that had me by the throat the whole time, all the more engaging as I am currently half-way through The Second Sex. This is a moving book and a loving look at a friendship that helped shape the philosophical world forever.


At every instant, blessed eternity was in play, and no clear sign was given to indicate if you were about to achieve it or lose it!
Profile Image for julieta.
1,140 reviews19.5k followers
December 16, 2020
Una historia entrañable. Novela corta autobiográfica de una amiga que tuvo Simone de Beauvoir, una amistad preciosa. Pero no es solo eso, la manera en como describe cada momento, cada actitud, te da un retrato super completo de esa época de su vida, de la infancia y adolescencia, del primer amor, la religión, la vida espiritual, y como eran tan definidas por la vida en sociedad, y por la familia en la que crecías. También ese cambio tan fuerte que se vive entre la infancia y la adolescencia, y como empieza la vida adulta. Muy hermoso y recomendado.
Profile Image for Jim Fonseca.
1,086 reviews7,013 followers
November 30, 2021
It's amazing to me that this completed novel was only just published, given that it was finished in 1954. The author died in 1986. The introduction by Margaret Atwood tells us that it was thought ‘too intimate’ but I don’t think that's true even by the standards then. It probably has more to do with the author's relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. We are told that in the introduction (and also in this quote from a NYTimes review by Leslie Camhi): “Apparently, she showed the manuscript of this brief novel to Sartre, who “held his nose” at it, she writes in “Force of Circumstance,” the third volume of her memoirs. “I couldn’t have agreed more,” she tells us there; “the story seemed to have no inner necessity and failed to hold the reader’s interest.” So she set the manuscript aside.


It's the semi-autobiographical story of de Beauvoir and her best friend, Zaza, starting at about ten years old. They met at an exclusive French Catholic school for girls from the ‘best families.’ They were the two best students and Simone was more dependent on the relationship than was the other girl who came from a large family with parents obsessed by their religion. Both parents were active in church groups and the family took an annual pilgrimage to the shrine at Lourdes. One daughter was already a nun, and one son a priest.

The author wrote many autobiographical and semi-autobiographical novels and Zaza is featured in four of her novels. Even in this story, we learn more about Zaza’s family and life than that of Simone’s. In the second half of the book it becomes Zaza’s tragic story, not the author’s.

Simone hung out with Zaza’s family. Zaza’s mother kept all her children occupied in an endless swirl of chores, visits to relatives, picnics and outings, so much so that Simone and Zaza seldom had a chance to converse together. (Idle hands are the devil's workshop, I guess.) The mother also feared Simone was a bad influence on her daughter because Simone drifted away from religious feelings very early in her life. The mother broke up a romance between Zaza (called Andree in the novel) and a neighbor boy because he is half-Jewish. Simone (called Sylvie) later ‘gives over’ her boyfriend to Andree. The mother, who ruled with an iron fist, felt that she would be ‘held responsible for the ‘sins’ of her daughters. (Too many little ‘quotes,’ I know!)


A good read, worth a ‘5.’ I’m glad it finally got published.

Top photo, Simone and Zaza from newyorktimes.com
The author from theparisreview.org
Profile Image for Nika.
136 reviews139 followers
May 11, 2023
The reader is presented with an autobiographical story of friendship. It traces the relationship between two young girls. One of them is Simone herself, who turns into Sylvie in the novel, another is Zaza, who becomes Andrée.
By writing this concise and evocative memoir, Simone wanted to pay homage to the friend of her youth, and she succeeded in "fighting against time, fighting against forgetfulness, fighting against death."

Sylvie was nine years old when a new girl joined her class. Andrée was brilliant and not too diligent, talented and audacious. She dared to express her opinions to teachers. Sylvie and Andrée became so close that teachers christened them “inseparable.”
Andrée was even permitted to go home from school alone.
Although it might look like freedom, Sylvie, as she came to know her friend better, soon realized that when anything important was involved, it was to be agreed with Andrée’s mother.

Both girls had pretty much the same background. They both were the daughters of ‘good’ Catholic parents. However, after the First World war, a gap opened up between them. Sylvie’s father had lost much money during that time, whereas Andrée’s family continued to enjoy financial stability. She was part of a family with "strict traditions that required a dutiful daughter to be selfless, resigned, and malleable."
This difference would play a significant role in their future lives.
Sylvie was intent on studying to be able to earn her living.
Andrée was bound to marry a proper guy as befitted a decent girl from a well-off family. Unsolicited feelings had to be suppressed. Andrée’s mother had herself in her youth gone through this necessity to conform.
For a daughter, the predetermined path led straight to marriage or a convent; she could not decide her fate according to her own desires or feelings. It was up to the family to arrange marriages: organizing “interviews,” selecting candidates depending on ideological, religious, social, and financial interests. Marriages took place within the same social circle.

Sensitive and hesitantly opinionated, Andrée craved to practice her violin, read and spend time alone without having to wear one of the socially approved masks. Instead, she had to attend noisy family parties, busy herself with various chores, social events, and collective outings, and wait for an acceptable groom to appear on the horizon.
Solitude is the privilege in that world.
Andrée attempted to escape from the track assigned to her but, alas, her plans seemed to be mere castles in the air. But were they?
Simone-Sylvie, using the magic of literature, converted Andrée’s aspirations, little joys, and bitter disappointments into a brilliant story and justified the "absolute importance of the moment, the eternity of the moment that would last forever."

In addition to being a very personal account, the story is very well written and reflects the mores of European society in the early 20th century. The two friends used the formal Vous to address each other. The dinner bell announced that it was time to have dinner.
Selected letters between Simone and Zaza are also included.
Profile Image for Terrie  Robinson.
398 reviews589 followers
September 7, 2021
"Inseparable" by Simone de Beauvoir is a French novel written in 1954 and remained unpublished until today, September 7, 2021!

At nine years old, Sylvie and Andrée meet at their Paris school and form a friendship that takes them into young adulthood.

Sylvie is watchful and conflicted. She is philosophical and not afraid to form her own opinion.

Andrée is emotional and unpredictable. She is idealistic, and often unable to find her voice within her circumstances.

Although very different, their loyalty to each other never falters. Their discussions explore and challenge the current norms of post WWI France: arranged marriages, religious conformity, social class and why women are viewed so poorly in the world.

This story is told through the voice and memory of Sylvie and recounts their friendship through November 25, 1929 when it abruptly ends. It is beautifully written and a startlingly poignant autobiographical Coming-of-Age story about Simone de Beauvoir (Sylvie) and her 'inseparable' friend, Elisabeth ‘Zaza‘ Lacoin (Andrée).

This story is a novelized account of a friendship that ends too soon, yet continues to live in the mind and heart of the author and begs to be told. In 1954 it was considered too bold for publication so it remained in Ms. de Beauvoir's possession until she passed in 1986. Her literary executor was given the rights to move forward with her unpublished work when they deemed it to be the right time.

That day has finally arrived!

Thank you to NetGalley, Ecco Publishing and Simone de Beauvoir for a free ARC of this book. It has been an honor to give my honest and voluntary review.
Profile Image for Pedro Pacifico Book.ster.
296 reviews3,648 followers
April 16, 2021
Escrito em 1954, “As inseparáveis” é um romance póstumo inédito no Brasil, e foi a minha primeira experiência lendo a memorável Simone de Beauvoir. A leitura tem como pano de fundo a amizade entre duas amigas, Sylvie e Andrée. Mas, na verdade, a autora criou essas duas personagens para escrever um romance sobre a sua própria história e de sua amiga Élisabeth Lacoin, a Zaza. “As inseparáveis” pode, portanto, ser classificado com um romance autobiográfico, em que há elementos de ficção (em maior ou menor grau) junto com um narrador que conta a sua própria historia, em primeira pessoa.

A história das duas garotas começa ainda na infância, quando Sylvie e Andrée se conhecem no colégio Desir, em Paris. A relação entre duas meninas tão diferentes acaba se desenrolando em uma amizade intensa e conflituosa, sobretudo em virtude dos contrastes na educação que cada uma recebe dentro de casa. Um contaste entre mulheres que aceitavam ou se opunham às imposições de uma sociedade conservadora e religiosa do início do século XX.

E é a partir das diferenças de pensamentos, e de como Sylvie se opunha aos pensamentos da conservadores da família de Andrée, que podemos ver pontos que posteriormente marcariam a filosofia da autora sobre as diferenças de gênero.

Além das questões mais ideológicas, o que temos nesse livro é uma narrativa sobre uma amizade marcante e que faz sofrer. A autora enfrenta angústias da sua infância e adolescência, passando por temas como primeiro amor, religião e a dificuldade do amadurecimento.

A edição conta com fotos de Simone e sua melhor amiga e cartas trocadas entre as duas amigas, além de um ótimo prefácio escrito pela filha da autora, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir. Um romance curto, delicioso e que ficará marcado para leitor!

Nota 9/10

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Profile Image for Dalia Nourelden.
511 reviews687 followers
May 16, 2023
" لا أجمل في هذا العالم من الشعور بأن ثمة شخصاً ما يمكن أن يفهمك تمام الفهم ، ويمكنك أن تعتمد على صداقته كل اعتمام "

"من رسائل زازا إلى سيمون "

الصداقة الاولى والحب الأول ..
صديقة وحب الطفولة ..
الصديق الذي تتطلع له .. تنظر له بإعجاب وانبهار .. تحبه أكثر مما تحب ذاتك وتستعد للتضحية من اجله بحياتك .

" ادركت بغتة في جو من الدهشة والفرح ، أن فراغ قلبي ، والطعم الكئيب الذي ميز أيامي كان له سبب واحد لا غير : غياب أندريه . الحياة بدونها ليست حياة "

أندريه غالار في الرواية أو فلنقل إليزابيت لاكوان الشهيرة بإسم زازا ، الصديقة الأولى في حياة سيلفي لوباج في الرواية وفي الواقع سيمون دو بوفوار .صديقتها المقربة أو كما كانت تقول لها في رسائلها " عزيزتي التي لا تنفصل عني "

"كانوا يسموننا العصفورتين اللتين لا تفترقان "


أندريه او زازا شعرت من خلال حديث سيمون عنها أنها قريبة مني جدا كما انى أعتقد و مع قرائتي للرواية أنها أحد أسباب تشكيل شخصية سيمون وقناعاتها وشجاعتها وحريتها بعد ذلك .. صديقتها التي ظنت انها تحيا حياة الحرية في البداية لكن حين تتعرف على ظروفها وحياتها أكثر تعرف أن ما تراه هو القشرة الخارجية التي تخفي الكثير ...

هذه الرواية تخليد لذكري صداقتهم وتخليد لوفاء سيمون لهذه الصداقة وهذا الحب الأول الطفولي ..
أسلوب سيمون رائع وسلس جدا والرواية خفيفة وممتعة ايضا في قرائتها.. هناك حالة من الحب والصداقة ستحيط بك أثناء القراءة.. أحببت صداقتهم وأحاديثهم ومشاعرهم تجاه بعضهم البعض ..

في الرواية ايضا صور لسيمون وزازا وحبيبها وصور لسيمون مع سارتر وأماكن حياتهم .. وبعض المراسلات بين سيمون وزازا

قراءة مشتركة مع الغالى أحمد نور الدين وصديقتي الجميلة سارة سمير ❤❤

٩ / ٢ / ٢٠٢٣
Profile Image for Paula Mota.
966 reviews309 followers
December 5, 2021

Este livro é uma preciosidade, sobretudo para quem admira Simone de Beauvoir, e desde que soube da sua publicação que fiquei desejosa de o ler. “As Inseparáveis” só foi publicado agora, quase sete décadas depois de ter sido escrito, e além do prazer que é ler um inédito desta autora, é de grande valor histórico o facto de conter excertos das cartas trocadas entre ela e a sua amiga Zaza, a qual serviu de inspiração a esta novela, bem como várias fotografias das duas jovens e dos locais que as marcaram.
Iniciei a leitura pelo enriquecedor posfácio escrito por Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, filha adoptiva da escritora, já que, conhecendo o desfecho desta amizade graças a “Memórias de Uma Menina Bem Comportada”, queria perceber o que era verídico ou ficcionado.

Ao lado de Simone de Beauvoir, de 9 anos de idade, aluna da escola católica Adeline Desir, senta-se uma morena de cabelo curto, Élisabeth Lacoin, conhecida por Zaza, poucos dias mais velha. Espontânea, engraçada e atrevida, destaca-se do conformismo reinante. (...) Disputam os primeiros lugares da classe, tornam-se inseparáveis. (...) O sentimento que nutre por Zaza é de paixão, venera-a, estremece só de pensar em desagradar-lhe.

Quando Sylvie conhece Andrée, admira a sua liberdade, mas essa independência tem um lado negro e opressivo.

Muitas vezes invejara a independência de Andrée; de repente, pareceu-me muito menos livre do que eu. Havia todo um passado atrás de si; e à sua volta aquela grande casa, aquela família numerosa: uma prisão cujas saídas estavam cuidadosamente vigiadas.

É por esta altura que Sylvie enfrenta as suas primeiras crises de fé...

Uma noite, estendida num prado húmido, diante da Lua, pensei: “São pecados!” e, todavia, estava firmemente decidida a continuar a comer, ler, falar, sonhar a meu bel-prazer. “Não acredito em Deus!” disse a mim mesma. Como poderia acreditar em Deus e desobedecer-lhe deliberadamente? Por momentos, aquela evidência deixou-me estupefacta: não acreditava.

...embora a sua amiga seja uma católica fervorosa, quase mística, o que se torna uma angústia nas suas relações amorosas menos platónicas.

A relação que mantinha com ele não devia ser fácil; de uma coisa eu estava certa: não conseguia convencer-se de que ele era bom; porém, queria agradar-lhe e esforçava-se por amá-lo: tudo teria sido mais simples se, tal como eu, tivesse perdido a fé quando a sua fé perdeu a sua candura.

Apesar de ser convidada para a casa de férias da família Gallard, a matriarca não simpatiza com Sylvie, principalmente porque esta pretende estudar na Sorbonne e trabalhar, enquanto as suas filhas estão destinadas a casarem-se com bons partidos escolhidos pela família.

- Não deve ser nada agradável viver de manhã à noite com alguém que não se ama – disse eu então.
- Deve ser horrível – concordou Andrée.
Ela teve um calafrio, como se tivesse visto uma orquídea; os seus braços ficaram com pele de galinha.
- Na catequese ensinam-nos que devemos respeitar o nosso corpo: logo, vender-se no casamento é tão mau como vender-se fora dele.
- Não somos obrigadas a casar – disse eu.

Ainda que esta obra esteja somente compreendida entre a Primeira Guerra e 1929 e explore acima de tudo a intensa amizade das duas raparigas, mencionam-se algumas convulsões sociais na sociedade francesa ainda extremamente conservadora.

Mantinha com Malou e o senhor Gallard uma discussão, que parecia crónica, sobre o sufrágio feminino; sim, era escandaloso que uma mãe de família tivesse menos direitos que um servente bêbedo: mas o senhor Gallard objetava que, entre os operários, mas mulheres são mais vermelhas do que os homens; no fim de contas, se a lei fosse aprovada, iria beneficiar sobretudo os inimigos da Igreja.

Recomendo sem reservas, mesmo a quem nunca se estreou nas letras da grande Simone de Beauvoir, pois é uma excelente porta de entrada no seu universo: um livro acessível, rico e terno.

[Obrigada, Celeste, por teres apaziguado a minha impaciência.]
Profile Image for Mrs.Martos .
93 reviews8 followers
December 29, 2022
En una familia de tradiciones rígidas, el deber de una chica consiste en olvidarse de si misma, en renunciar así misma, en adaptarse. Pero si eres excepcional y no puedes adaptarte al molde prefabricado te aplastaran.
Andree (Zaza) no pudo adaptarse y trituraron toda su singularidad.
Profile Image for Karen.
574 reviews1,120 followers
July 30, 2021
This is a French novel written in 1954 by Simone de Beauvoir, just recently translated and to be released on September 7 …..35 yrs after the author’s death.
Beautifully written, this tells the story of an intense friendship that starts when Simone and Zaza
(Andree in the book) are 9 and they meet at school.
Follows their friendship until one of them dies at age 20 due to encephalitis (you won’t believe the reason why this occurred) tragic and unnecessary.
Anyway.. a beautifully written short novel.. topics: female friendship, oppression of women.
The cover made me interested in the book!

Thank you to Netgalley and Ecco for the ARC!
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews33 followers
April 27, 2021
“Inseparable” .....[a never before published novel]...at 208 pages....was a story about an intense friendship — between Sylvie and Andree —as intoxicating [one sitting read]....as the enmeshed friendship between Lila and Elena in “The Neapolitan Novels”, by Elena Ferrante. ( only shorter).

Being as short as it is ....I hesitate to share specific content details....
Most important thing to say:
This book is gorgeous right from the title. The writing is achingly beautiful. It’s bruised and breathtaking— a powerful story of love and loss....of a passionate friendship.
Autobiographical in nature—written in 1954, “Inseparable” was inspired by an inseparable friendship—between Simone de Beauvoir and her friend Elisabeth ‘Zara’ Lacoin. Zara died of encephalitis at the age of twenty-one.

The storytelling, written in first person, is seen through the eyes of Sylvie (who was Simone de Beauvoir). It’s Sylvie who recounts events - their friendship - coming of age experiences - between she and her Andree Gallard ( who in real life was Elisabeth Lacoin, Simone’s closest friend).

Le Bon-de Beauvoir, Simone’s literary executor— is planning on releasing more unpublished fiction novels in the coming years.
Before Simone died she told Le Bon “you’ll do as you think right”.... in reference to publishing her unread work.
So, “Inseparable”, is just the first of other unpublished novels to follow.

Sylvie and Andree first meet as young girls - nine years of age. Andree was the ‘new’ girl in class (having been homeschooled for the entire year before due to needing to recover from an accident). Sylvie was often ranked top student in her academics — Andree was brilliant as well....but she just wasn’t attached to her results. Andree’s aloofness and independence enchanted Sylvie.

Their friendship grows. We learn of the different philosophies in which each were raised—meet the mothers- siblings - other friends - boyfriends - etc.

Sylvie’s and Andree struggled against conventional ideas of what a woman should be in the early 20th century (obedient, devout, chaste, arrange marriages within the same circles, idealogical, religious, social, and financial status).
We are taken on a journey of conflicts......the conflicts of conformity....
tragedy, deadly rules, love separations, spiritual brokenness, and repression. Andree could see right through the hypocrisy, the lies of life, the egotism of moralism....(of the elite social circle).....
Andree suffered quietly—(a girl that was never left alone in her big family with many siblings), but from internal isolation, from existential solitude, and from being her own torturer...tearing herself apart.

This is a story that gets consumed in one or two luminous, raw, emotional, and intellectually stimulating binges.

Introduction by Margaret Atwood.

A couple of excerpts:

“If I have tears in my eyes tonight, is it because you have died, or rather because I’m the one who is still alive?
I should dedicate the story to you: but I know that you are nowhere now, and that I am speaking to you here through literary artfulness. Besides, this is not truly your story but simply a story inspired by us. You were not Andree and I am not the Sylvie who speaks my name”.

“I had often envied Andree’s independence; suddenly, she seemed a lot less free than I was. Behind her, she had this past; around
her, this large house, this enormous family: a prison, whose exits were carefully guarded”.

Thank you Ecco publishing, Netgalley, to the beloved Simone de Beauvoir ( 1908 to 1986) ....French writer, intellectual, existentialist, philosopher, political activist, feminist, social theorist.
Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiographies, and monographs.

*I own a few Beauvoir books that I’ve been meaning to read for years —
looking all-the-MORE-forward to reading them now.
Love this type of intimate writing.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,896 reviews1,927 followers
September 15, 2021
"By the time she finished and ultimately wrote off Inseparable, de Beauvoir had already published her two best-known novels as well as The Second Sex. In other words, Inseparable is not juvenilia, and de Beauvoir was not a young or unseasoned writer when she decided to nix it."
Thus spake MADDIE Crum, a certified woman, of Inseparable, in The Baffler. My personal favorite bit:
The book, in other words, is heavy-handed, schematic, and thin. It’s about the length and scope of de Beauvoir’s novellas but has been packaged as a complete novel, padded with a laudatory introduction, a defensive afterword asserting the project’s significance, and selected letters between de Beauvoir and Zaza. Still, it has obvious merits: most of all the prose and the psychological insights, which are wry and movingly direct in turn. “I admired her nonchalance without being able to imitate it,” Sylvie thinks of Andrée at one point, articulating the unscalable rift between desire and its fulfillment.

That is spot-on and well said.


My Review
: First, read this:
Madame Gallard had indulgently told Mama the story of Andrée’s martyrdom: the cracked skin, enormous blisters, paraffin-coated dressings, Andrée’s delirium, her courage, how one of her little friends had kicked her while they were playing a game and had reopened her wounds. She’d made such an effort not to scream that she’d fainted. When she came to my house to see my notebooks, I looked at her with respect; she took notes in beautiful handwriting, and I thought about her swollen thigh under her pleated skirt. Never had anything as interesting happened to me. I suddenly had the impression that nothing had ever happened to me at all.

All the children I knew bored me, but Andrée made me laugh when we walked together on the playground between classes. She was marvelous at imitating the brusque gestures of Mademoiselle Dubois, the unctuous voice of Mademoiselle Vendroux, the principal. She knew loads of secrets about the place from her older sister: these young women were affiliated with the Jesuits; they wore their hair parted on the side when they were still novices, in the middle once they’d taken their vows.

Here is a world limned in a few lines...we're given the vast scope of the world surrounding the small, claustrophobically so it will turn out, world of our story, and it is utterly impossible to look away from it.

Simone de Beauvoir was a master of the craft of storytelling.

Author de Beauvoir did not write solely for women, of course, though she deliberately treated subjects of importance to women. But, by her choice of this wildly romantic subject matter, it does not hurt to be deeply identified with women to obtain the fullest impact of the story. I acknowledge that it's simplistic to say that, to be fully satisfied with a deep dive into an adolescent passion, one would most likely need to be a woman. I am not alone in holding this reductive opinion, though, if one simply goes by the marketing materials of similarly-themed work. I am aware that this generalization will cause irritation and displeasure among significant parts of a book by Simone de Beauvoir's audience. But the subject matter limits the appeal, even if that's not the case with her writing. No criticism of her writing is really possible for me, as I have read translations of her work only; the most I can say is that, based on the pervasive beauty of the phrase-making in the work of de Beauvoir's I've read, the likelihood of her own creation being other than beautiful is very low.

That said, at some risk to my Comments section's peacefulness, I don't think the book should be down-rated for that quite piffling (if explanatory of the comparative dearth of male reviewers looking at it) quibble. If you would like to read more, visit my blog: https://expendablemudge.blogspot.com/...
Profile Image for Jennifer Welsh.
228 reviews177 followers
December 18, 2022
At first, I loved this so much. The portrayal of childhood in all its innocence, yet still such complex feeling and the intensity of first times. The writing never loses its beauty, but the themes become less relational to humans, and more towards the god of organized religion. As I grew up without, I could no longer fully connect - but I suspect lots could. It’s really very short, the already slim book plumped with extras that I enjoyed as much as the story.

Worthwhile, but my first of an author who I suspect peaks with a different work.
Profile Image for Araz Goran.
817 reviews3,517 followers
June 1, 2023
لم أستطع أن أمنع نفسي من إنهاء هذه الرواية خلال يوم واحد فقط، الرواية تشدك تحبسك في ايقاعها السلس، تجذبك بموضوعها وصياغتها وبساطة مفرداتها وعجينة تكوينها اللينة التي تتحول شيئاً فشيئاً إلى مزاج رتيب، الرواية جداً ولكنها لطيفة الرتابة سهلة المرور خلالها، هكذا عرفت بوفوار وهكذا قرأت لها وعاينت كتاباتها التي تغمر الواحد بالقلق وهو يقرأ، بمحاولة توقع أشياء، تصدمك وتغريك وتدهشك بتفاصيل الكتابة التي تحملها، إنها لا تتخيل بقدر ما تعيد صياغة جزء من واقعها في صفحات ملموسة وحية ومرنة، يدهشك هذه القدرة على التوفيق بين سرد سيرة ذاتية وكتابة رواية ، الواحد يصغي بقلبه إلى هذه الحكاية، ويظل يتخيل تلك الحكاية المفصلية التي غيرت حياة سيمون، نعم لقد غيرتها بالكامل وأي شيء أكثر قدرة على تغييرنا من قصص الطفولة ومن تلك الصداقات التي فعلناها في صغرنا ..

تلفتني قصص الصداقة، وخاصة تلك التي تتولد في بزوغ حياة الإنسان، وهذه القصة تعتبر من أجمل ما قرأت وأصدقها نحو القلب، إنها بمثابة حكاية إنسانية من الجذور والأعماق، تتشكل في داخل تلك الصداقة الكثير من الآمال والحلم والضعف والحب وربما السذاجة ونبرة الأبدية التي تتخفى في الأعماق، لغز الصداقة أنها غير دائمة ويعرف الإنسان في داخله أن لا شيء يتم، لا شيء يكتمل ولذلك نتشبث أحياناً وندرك أحياناً أن بعض الصداقات لا يمكن أن تعوض، وهذه الحكاية قد تكون من ضمن تلك الصداقات العجيبة التي لا يمكن أن تُنسى، لأنها ملازمة لفعل الطفولة، البراءة، والإحساس القديم لكل ما هو أصيل، حيث يظهر لعقل الإنسان أن كل شيء في ذلك الزمن حيٌ أكثر من اللازم وصادق وحقيقي وبريء إلى الحد الذي تخلو فيه من كل المقاصد التالية، هذه الرواية تحكي عن صبيتين تجمعهما مصائر وقصص، قد تبدو أغلبها بسيطة، ولكنها صداقة من نوع وجودي، صداقة حين تنظر إليها تبدو لك أنها كل شيء، وكل ما أردت أن تقوله وكل من أحببت أن تلتقيهم في ذلك الإنسان البعيد جداً، في زمن طفولتك، في زمن حبّك الأول ، في تراثك القديم المدهش الذي جعلته باعتقادك أجمل أيامك قاطبة ..

الرواية ليست ذات نبرة عاطفية تشعر أن كاتبتها ليست إمرأة، ولكنك ستتعاطف بالرغم عنك، ستشعر بقوة المشاعر وصدقها، ستتأثر بما يمكن أن تحمله الأيام من مآسي وانقلابات شاسعة في حياة الفرد، ذلك الضياع الوجودي، التفكير، المصير، الوجهة ، المستقبل، ستشعر أنك بالفعل أمام رواية مليئة بالحزن، وبدرجة عالية من التعاطف والأنغماس في عالم سيمون دي بوفوار الأول والأكثر تأثيراً في حياتها وكتاباتها اللاحقة ..
Profile Image for Emily Coffee and Commentary.
379 reviews111 followers
April 11, 2023
A touching novella taken from Simone de Beauvoir’s own memories and love for her dear friend Zaza Lacoin. Intimate and tinged with regret and longing, it is easy to see how Simone de Beauvoir was influenced and inspired by Zaza; two girls born ahead of their time trading philosophies, desires, and building things left unsaid. This is a haunting reminder of the impact the ones closest to us leave, especially when we are separated from them, and it is a tribute to the intensity with which friendship alters our lives and our view of the world.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,864 reviews523 followers
December 27, 2021
Les Inséparables recounts the experiences that founded the revolt and the work of the great French philosopher: her emancipation and the antagonism between intellectuals and conservatives. It also portrays and denounces a hypocritical and fanatical society.
May 27, 2022
blogthestorygraphletterboxd tumblrko-fi

“She had appeared so glorious to me that I had assumed she had everything she wanted. I wanted to cry for her, and for myself.”

Superbly written The Inseparables is a novella that pairs an enthralling depiction of female friendship with a razor-sharp commentary on gender and religion. This is the kind of work of fiction that reads like real life, unsurprising perhaps given that Beauvoir created Sylvie and Andrée after herself and her real-life friend Zaza Lacoin.

Written in a controlled and polished style The Inseparables presents us with a beguiling tale in which Sylvie, our narrator, recounts the enigmatic nature of her bond with Andrée. The two first meet as young girls while enrolled at a private Catholic school and, in spite of the divergence between their religious beliefs, they become, as the title itself suggests, inseparable. Due to the conventions of their time and society—the French bourgeois of the early 20th cent.—they cannot be too close and so have to refrain from being too intimate with one another, for example by addressing each other with the formal you.Still, they keep up a correspondence and talk at length to each other, earning themselves the disapproval of Andrée’s mother who frowns upon their, God forbid, long and possibly intimate conversations.

Sylvie is fascinated by Andrée, in particular, she seems hyperaware, intrigued even, by her self-divide. On the one hand Andrée, a devout Catholic, expresses conservative ideas and opinions, which make her appear particularly naive. On the other Andrée possesses a clever mind and a propensity for expressing surprisingly subversive thoughts. Andrée is a magnetic individual who oscillates between irreverence and conformity. Sylvie, who did not grow up to be a staunchly religious individual (apropos, in a diary entry beauvoir wrote: "i have no other god but myself"), cannot always reconcile herself to Andrée’s way of thinking and struggles to understand the loyalty that Andrée has for her family, which Sylvie herself views as suffocating.

As the two grow up we see how Andrée continues to struggle with understanding her own emotions, trying and failing to contain her fiercer self. We also see how her mother’s constant reprimand have affected her self-worth and distorted her view of herself. When she falls for Pascal, a puritanical young man who seriously considered being a priest, Andrée’s resolve to lead the kind of life that her family, as well as her society, is tested. She desperately wants to escape her present circumstances but this desperation ultimately results in self-sabotage. We witness her unravelling through Sylvie’s eyes, who, as much as she yearns to be of help, cannot ultimately save her.

Beauviour’s piercing commentary on gender, class, and religion was profoundly insightful. She addresses these things with clarity and exactness, illustrating how fatal oppression and repression are on a person’s psyche. What I found particularly touching, and relatable, in this novel was the unrequited nature of Sylve’s love for Andrée. Regardless of whether the love she feels for Andrée is a platonic one or a romantic one, we know that Andrée doesn’t feel the same passion for Sylve. Whether she’s unwilling or unable to reciprocate the iSylve’s feelings, we do not know for certain, however, we can see how deeply this realization cuts Sylvie. Sylvie is shown to be both jealous and resentful of Andrée’s family, holding them responsible for her friend’s unhappiness.

This novella’s subject did bring to mind Fleur Jaeggy’s Sweet Days of Discipline, which also explores an intense female friendship, Dorothy Strachey’s Olivia
(which is far more flowery and sentimental than this but also capture a youth’s unrequited love and longing for another) as well as novel such as Abigail and Frost In May (which are both set in all-girl schools and touch on female friendships and religion).
While Sylvie is both attuned and attentive to Andrée, her moods and beliefs, she does, like we all tend to do, idealise her given that she is her object of desire (whether this is desire is platonic or sexual, it's up to the reader to decide, i, to no one's surprise, felt that it was the latter).
This was a riveting read. The prose is sublime, the story an equal parts evocative and tragic exploration of young & unrequited love, heartache, independence, kinship and intimacy.

I will say that as much as I loved this I couldn’t help but the publisher’s short bio of Beauvoir, as well as Levy’s and the translator’s mentions of her, felt very incomplete. As far as I can recall they all omit to mention Beauvoir’s more ‘unethical’ behaviour. As a teacher, she had ‘relationships’ with her underage pupils and went on to sign a petition seeking to abrogate the age of consent in France (because of course age is just a number!). Here you might argue that those things have nothing to do with this novella or her friendship with Zaza (discussed by both Levy and the translator). But I maintain that they do. You can’t just mention the fact that she’s a feminist and try to analyse her real-life friendship with another woman or her commentary on female sexuality while at the same time omitting that in her lifetime she ('allegedly') groomed her underage female students and seemed in favour of pedophilia. That she did those things did not detract from my reading experience however it certainly made me a little bit more critical of our narrator's obsession towards her friend.

Some of my favourite quotes:
“Secretly I thought to myself that Andrée was one of those prodigies about whom, later on, books would be written.”

“No, our friendship was not as important to Andrée as it was to me, but I admired her too much to suffer from it.”

“What would I have daydreamed about? I loved Andrée above all else, and she was right next to me.”

“I thought to myself, distressed, that in books there are people who make declarations of love, or hate, who dare to say whatever comes into their mind, or heart—why is it so impossible to do the same thing in real life?”

“The errors I admitted were those of the soul above all: I had lacked fervour, too long forsaken the divine presence, prayed inattentively, regarded myself too complacently.”

“Andrée was unhappy and the idea of it was unbearable. But her unhappiness was so foreign to me; the kind of love where your kiss had no truth from me.”

“Never. The word had never fallen with such weight upon my heart. I repeated it within myself, under the never-ending sky, and I wanted to cry. ”

“No doubt she loved Andrée in her way, but what way was that? That was the question. We all loved her, only differently. ”

“Happiness suits her so well, I thought.”

““Don’t be sad,” she said. “In every family there’s a bit of rubbish. I was the rubbish.”

“For Andrée, there was a passageway between the heart and the body that remained a mystery to me. ”

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,431 reviews2,511 followers
August 15, 2021
'Must I spend my life fighting against the people I love?'

An unpublished novel by Simone de Beauvoir, this may lack the sophistication of her published fiction, especially Les Mandarins, but it's still a searing indictment of how a young woman can be crushed by the bourgeois, gendered and religious expectations piled upon her in the interwar years.

Drawing on the her own youthful friendship with the girl known as Zaza in Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, de Beauvoir has written a short novella in pared back, deceptively simple prose. In places it reminds me of André Gide's La Porte étroite/Strait is the Gate for the religious element that plays out here, but it is as much about catholic culture as Catholic.

This edition translated by Lauren Elkin comes with an introduction by Deborah Levy and a useful afterword by de Beauvoir's daughter, Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir, who also appends copies of letters between Zaza and de Beauvoir. Unmissable, I'd say.

Many thanks to Vintage for an ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Mohamed Khaled Sharif.
771 reviews881 followers
January 27, 2023
"إن كان الرب موجوداً، فلا سبيل إلى فهم الشر.
قالت أندريه: ربما علينا أن نتقبل قصورنا عن الفهم. من الغطرسة أن يُريد الإنسان فهم كُل شيء."

رواية "صبيتان لا تفترقان" هي رواية مبنية على أحدث حقيقية، تمثل تلك العلاقة بين "سيمون دو بوفوار"، و"إليزابيث لاكوان" المعروفة باسم "زازا"، تلك العلاقة التي نشأت في سن صغير عندما كانت سيمون في التاسعة من عمرها، فترصد تلك العلاقة صداقتهم من بدايتها، حتى نهايتها المؤلمة، والتي قررت بسببها "بو فوار" أن تكتب هذه الرواية لتُخلد ذكرى صداقتهم، البريئة، والشقية، والمُختلفة، وتلك التساؤلات التي حيرتهم في وقت نشأتهم، عن الوجود والدين والحُب، تساؤلات عميقة، تجعلك تفهم جيداً أي شخصية كانت "سيمون دو بوفوار"، ورفقتها، وكيف أن الحياة بالنسبة لـ"سيمون" كانت صراع دائم مع عقلها الذكي، والناضج، والذي يتسائل حول كُل شيء، وهي تُحاول جاهدة في الحصول على الإجابات، وعلى الأخص الصحيح منها.

"لكن أنى لنا أن نتأكد من أن ذاك الذي نُحبه سيبادلنا الحُب إلى الأبد؟"

ورغم أن أحداث الرواية ليست كثيرة، ولا حتى الشخصيات، ولكن أبرز ما كان بهذه الرواية هي الحوارات بين الشخصيات، وخصوصاً الحوارات التي كانت تتواجد بها "سيمون"، حوارات ذكية، ونقاشات مُلهمة، تحمل بحثاً عن الإجابات، عن طبيعة العلاقات، وكيف أنه رُبما كانت علاقتها بـ"زازا" تعدت علاقة الصداقة البريئة، بالنسبة لسيمون على الأقل.

رواية جميلة ودافئة، تحمل في طياتها جحيم مُستعر من الأسئلة، والسرد كان جميل، ويُقربك من شخصية "بوفوار"، وترجمة "محمد آيت حنا" كالعادة بارزة.

يُنصح بها.
Profile Image for Jolanta (knygupe).
826 reviews181 followers
January 31, 2022
Pirmą kart išspausdintas Simone de Beauvoir autobiografinis romanas (autofiction), parašytas 1954-iais. Tada, tais XX amžiaus vidurio metais tai būtų buvęs daug reikšmingesnis kūrinys feminizmui ir LGBT kultūrai. Bet tai koks šmikis buvo tas Sartre. Jam mat, atrodė, kad šis romanas visiškai nevertas dėmesio ir spausdinti jo nereikėtų. Gaila, tačiau Simone jo paklausė. Be abejo, po jos "Antrosios lyties" šis neišsipildžiusios meilės romanas galėjo pasirodyti - "ne lygis", bet čia juk visiškai kitas žanras. O ir parašytas romanas tikrai puikiai - jautriai ir elegantiškai. Liečiamos net šiandienai svarbios temos - ne tik lyties tapatybės, bet ir sustabarėjusios visuomenės ribotumo. Bet vat Sartre tai pasirodė nereikšminga, buržujiška. "/

Knyga sukurta remiantis tikru Simone ryšiu su Zaza (romane - Andree). Zaza mirė 21-ių, palikusi autorei žaizdotą širdį, kurią ji bandė gydyti rašydama šią istoriją. Galvoju, ar tik ne pavydas prisidėjo prie tokio nuožmaus Sartre "patarimo". 

Simone de Beauvoir ir Zaza
Profile Image for Maria Roxana.
542 reviews
January 6, 2021
Un fel de definiție a intimității, dar și o invitație la o introspecție despre prietenie.
Această carte este despre Zaza, cea mai bună prietenă a lui Simone de Beauvoir. S-au cunoscut în copilărie, iar relația lor a fost una specială, amândouă având aceleași preocupări care cuprindeau lectura, discuțiile cu sens, devenind-după cum spune și titlul cărții-inseparabile. Zaza este însă răpusă de o boală cumplită-encefalită virală. Dacă cineva ar fi întrebat-o pe Simone de Beauvoir din ce cauză a murit prietena ei, ea ar fi răspuns: ”Zaza a murit din cauză că era excepțională. ” Ce răspuns, nu? :)

Atfel, prin acest roman, Beauvoir o reînvie pe Zaza:
” Dacă am lacrimi în ochi, oare se întâmplă pentru că ești moartă, sau pentru că eu trăiesc? Ar trebui să-ți dedic această poveste, dar știu că nu mai ești nicăieri, așa că-ți vorbesc doar printr-un artificiu literar. În rest, asta nu e cu adevărat povestea ta, ci doar o poveste inspirată din noi două. Tu nu erai Andree, eu nu sunt această Sylvie care vorbește în numele meu.”

O carte frumoasă care ne (re)amintește cât de important este miracolul prieteniei, căci nu e nimic mai plăcut pe lume decât să simți că cineva te poate înțelege pe deplin, că înțelege viața în aceeași manieră, fără a folosi interogația: ”Ce a vrut să spună autorul?” :D
Puritatea care a caracterizat prietenia celor două ”inseparabile” este însă rară în ziua de azi, dar e frumos că o putem gusta fie și prin astfel de pagini scrise atât de frumos...
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,743 reviews2,271 followers
August 9, 2021

A never before published story written by the author in 1954, this is a fictionalized story based on the author’s friendship with Elisabeth ‘Zaza‘ Lacoin. They meet when they are young and Andrée, who in this story represents Zaza, is one of the students in the same class with Sylvie, who represents Simone. Their attachment and affection for each other was so obvious it earned them the nickname of the inseparables.

But their relationship struggles off and on, Sylvie is the one driving this friendship, she adores Andrée, practically turning herself inside out in the process. Andrée, on the other hand, who comes from a strongly knit, large family, a strongly Catholic family, struggles with the constructs of her faith against who would clearly oppose this relationship. It is also clear that her mother is consistently steering her away from this relationship.

With an introduction written by Margaret Atwood, and a dedication by the author that begins:’If I have tears in my eyes tonight, is it because you have died, or rather because I’m the one who is still alive?’ this is a story of the loss of a beloved friend, as well as the heartbreak of a love that required denial in order to be preserved.

Pub Date: 07 Sep 2021

Many thanks for the ARC provided by Ecco
Profile Image for Emmkay.
1,185 reviews77 followers
November 10, 2022
I listened to an interview of translator Lauren Elkin on the Literary Friction podcast a while back, speaking about her work translating this previously unpublished novella by Simone de Beauvoir - she was so interesting, both on the topic of the novella, and on the topic of translation, that I immediately ordered it. Oddly, Elkin did the translation for the UK edition (and Deborah Levy the introduction), while Sandra Smith did the translation for the North American edition (and Margaret Atwood the introduction). Both seem to come with the same appended archival material, as well as an afterword by de Beauvoir’s adopted daughter/executor. I ordered the UK edition as I’d heard Elkin interviewed and didn’t realize there were two - but especially given the thinking about translation that I did having heard the interview, I’m curious to compare with the Smith version. In the interview, Elkin refers to some aspects of her translation that seemed to stress the publisher, such as the use of footnotes and her penchant for rendering direct speech into indirect speech.

But enough about the translation. The novel was fascinating. Apparently set aside by the author after some snide put-down from Sartre, it is a sensitive autobiographical exploration of the friendship between two bourgeois girls in the early twentieth century, Sylvie (Simone) and Andree (Zaza). Meeting in school during the First World War, they become ‘inseparable’ companions, and Sylvie is dazzled by her new friend’s apparent freedoms - Andree can walk home from school alone, she isn’t intimidated by teachers, and rough-and-tumble play is allowed in her large family. As the girls mature, however, their circumstances diverge, and Andree’s become more constrained by societal, familial, and religious expectations. I enjoyed the nuance with which de Beauvoir explored and took very seriously the constraints Andree faced: knowing that the story was based on a pivotal friendship in her own life, it was evident both how her friend’s experience continued to anguish and anger her, and also the level of analysis she had brought to bear on it. 4.5.
Profile Image for David.
1,422 reviews
December 13, 2021
L'enfer, c'est les autres. (Hell is other people).

That was uttered by Jean-Paul Sartre in his play, Huis Clos (No Exit). Can you believe he convinced Simone de Beauvoir not to publish this book in 1954, five years after her classic book, The Second Sex? I am quoting Margaret Atwood, who wrote the forward to this book.

The book tells the inseparable friendship between Andrée and Sylvie. They become friends although the lion’s share of the friendship is told from Sylvia’s point of view. Both are taught in a strict catholic school, and in the case of Andrée, her family adheres to a militant Catholicism. This poses a lot of challenges for Andrée when she becomes involved with the other sex, men. Her life is to conform and do what her mother says. Her mother wants to marry her to the most appropriate man. What Andrée wants is besides the point. For Sylvie, she watches as her friend seems to fall apart before her very eyes. Her great love Pascal is also willing to wait to get engaged to appease his own father. Poor Sylvie is at a dilemma.

Now to get to the heart of the matter. This book contains an essay by the adopted daughter Sylvia Le Bon de Beauvoir which points out that many of the characters in this now published novel are based on real people. Sylvie is Simone; Andrée is Zaza. Pascal is Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the existential philosopher. Real life inspiration.

When you put this into perspective, de Beauvoir paints a poignant image of friendship, the loss of choice for a woman in a world domineered by parents and the church, obligations and rigid class structure, and above all, a personal tragedy.

It breaks one’s heart to read this. It baffles me that Sartre denied this to be published. It staggers the mind that, after almost seventy years, we can finally read it.

As Ms. Atwood says, “Read it and weep, dear reader.” Hell is truly other people.
Profile Image for Stephanie Arellano.
35 reviews97 followers
February 5, 2021
La manera en que SdB describe la amistad, la infancia, el primer amor, los momentos y actitudes entre ella y su inseparable “Zaza” es entrañable.
Profile Image for Gabril.
733 reviews162 followers
April 27, 2021
Romanzo pubblicato postumo (era rimasto nel fondo di un cassetto): ripercorre l’incontro abbagliante e l’amicizia tenace di Simone e Zaza, trasferendoli in una finzione narrativa che però lascia ben poco all’invenzione.

Sylvie (Simone) e Andrée (Zaza) si conoscono bambine, a scuola, in un clima di austerità e severo formalismo (si danno del lei - il bellissimo “vous” francese che in italiano è decisamente meno fascinoso) e dove un cattolicesimo rigido e bigotto, congiunto a un ipocrita perbenismo altoborghese (soprattutto nella famiglia di Andrée) soffoca ogni autentico istinto di vita e ogni legittima aspirazione alla libertà.

Sappiamo quale sarà il percorso libertario della de Beauvoir, la sua influenza intellettuale su diverse generazioni di donne e sappiamo dal suo dettagliato memoir che l’amata amica Élisabeth Lacoin, detta Zaza, rimase vittima invece di quell’ambiente asfittico e mortifero che soffocò il suo slancio vitale. Uno scandalo contro il quale Simone non cesserà di combattere.

Ma “Le inseparabili” si concentra soprattutto sui sentimenti: la prima esperienza della passione amorosa per la piccola e poi adolescente Sylvie (“amavo Andrée sopra ogni cosa”; “vivere senza di lei non era vivere”) e la vitalità soffocata, l’individualità spezzata della giovane Andrée che non può sopravvivere al conflitto tra i suoi bisogni naturali e un’educazione repressiva, quando l’attaccamento e l’obbedienza alla famiglia entrano in rotta di collisione con il salvifico amore per se stessa, e quando “il privilegio della solitudine le è precluso” (postfazione). La sua soggettività, la sua presenza qui e ora, unica e insostituibile, viene dunque cancellata.

È invece proprio per questo che Simone de Beauvoir vive, è per questo che scrive: per “rendere giustizia a questa presenza assoluta dell’istante, a questa eternità dell’istante che rimarrà per sempre”.
Profile Image for Federica Rampi.
488 reviews119 followers
July 21, 2021
Le prigioni di un sistema bigotto
Le inseparabili è un romanzo breve inedito di Simone de Beauvoir che rievoca il suo legame per l'amica Zaza la cui tragica morte la perseguiterà per tutta la vita.
Ma Le Inseparabili mette soprattutto in scena l'educazione sessuale e intellettuale di due giovani ragazze ribelli in un mondo che pretende di proibire loro di diventare donne libere e pensanti per confinarle al ruolo di moglie e di madre al servizio di società.
Un tempo in cui le donne erano relegate alla verginità passiva, congelate come in una natura morta
Questo testo autobiografico che ha il profumo di un'epoca passata, evoca con emozione e lucidità le esperienze fondanti della rivolta e dell'opera della grande autrice femminista: la sua movimentata emancipazione che formerà la base di Memorie di una ragazza perbene
Profile Image for angel.
46 reviews10 followers
October 17, 2022
La primera novela que me devoro de Simone y de una trama de amistad femenina, me sucumbí en ella. Elegante, su escritura de una finura exquisita, me ha fascinado. Cuanto adoro los personajes literarios femeninos narrados por mujeres.
Profile Image for Sham Albaker.
41 reviews14 followers
November 6, 2022
فتاتان لاتفترقان
أحيت سيمون حبيبتها بهذه الرواية
فهي اشبه بسيرة ذاتية تصف فيها سيلفيا (سيمون) حياة اندريه(زازا) بلسان صديقتها سيلفيا
وصراعها بين الدين والحب والخطيئة والتأثير الكبير للدين الذي مارسه على حياتها وشعورها الدائم بالذنب
"لماذا لايخبرنا الله بشكل واضح ماذا يريد منا؟"
ومحاولتها للتوفيق بين العالم الد��يوي والاخرة
وارضاء الجميع الا نفسها !
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