Available in English for the first time, Simone de Beauvoir's incandescent autobiographical novel paints an enthralling portrait of a formative female friendship in interwar Paris.
With an introduction from Deborah Levy
'Life without her would be death'
The lost novel from the author of The Second Sex published in English for the first time.
The compulsive story of two friends growing up and falling apart.
When Andree joins her school, Sylvie is immediately fascinated. Andree 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 Andree 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.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 264 g
Dimensions: 204 x 138 x 21 mm
'Gorgeously written, intelligent, passionate, and in many ways foreshadows such contemporary works as Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend' - Oprah Daily
'A passionate and tragic autobiographical story' - Vanity Fair
'Here is an attentive and unintimate love, one that relishes the idea of imagining, but never knowing and never delimiting, the infinite expanses of another person's mind' - Merve Emre, New Yorker
'[An] absorbing novel... The Inseparables is a moving coming-of-age tale about two girls battling with who and what they want to be in 20th-century Paris' - Monocle
'In Lauren Elkin's fine translation, the lucid, sculpted prose can flare into starbursts of introspective sensuality. It touches and grips not just as a portrait of semi-requited teenage ardour...but because Beauvoir gives the torments of belief their due... Its focus and restraint show that, even in maturity, Beauvoir could write like a dutiful daughter of the French classics' - Boyd Tonkin, The Times
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“A newly discovered classic”
Thank you to Vintage for letting me read The Inseparables, a newly published Simone de Beauvoir novel. I've never read any Simone de Beauvoir before, despite meaning to read The Second Sex for years, and I was... More
“The subtle (or not so subtle) politics of friendship and growing up”
This is a great, short novel. The why and how was de Beauvoir persuaded not to publish it during her lifetime - I've read somewhere that it was too personal, that some of the material had already been used in the... More
“Poignant and beautiful”
The brevity of The Inseparables feels to mirror the abrupt and early death of Zaza, and the missing 'pages' of what her life could have been were it not for religion and 'society'.
The putting... More
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