Rachel Careau, Paul Eprile and Judith Thurman on Colette

Chéri (1920) and its sequel, The End of Chéri (1926), are widely considered Colette’s finest achievements, in their brilliant, subtle and frank investigations of love and power. In sensuous, elegant prose, the two novels explore the evolving inner lives and the intimate relationship of an unlikely couple: Léa de Lonval, a middle-aged former courtesan, and Fred Peloux, twenty-five years her junior, known as Chéri.

Rachel Careau’s and Paul Eprile’s exquisite new translations restore to these classic novels their taut, remarkably modern style — the essence of Colette’s genius. Join these two esteemed translators as they discuss Colette’s masterpieces and how they’ve each achieved such a tour-de-force. The conversation will be moderated by New Yorker staff writer Judith Thurman, the author of Secrets of The Flesh: A Life of Colette (Ballantine Books, 2000), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award.

This event will be in English. It is free with RSVP.

Rachel Careau’s translation of Colette’s Chéri and The End of Chéri (Norton, 2022) was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. A 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellow, Careau has also translated Roger Lewinter’s Story of Love in Solitude and The Attraction of Things (both New Directions, 2016).

Paul Eprile is a publisher, poet, and translator. He was a co-winner of the 2018 Annual Translation Prize of the French-American Foundation for his translation of Jean Giono’s Melville, which was published by NYRB Classics. He lives on the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario, Canada.

Judith Thurman is a staff writer at the New Yorker. She writes about books, culture, and fashion. She is the author of Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller, which won the 1983 National Book Award for nonfiction, and Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Biography and the Salon Book Award for biography. The Dinesen biography served as the basis for Sydney Pollack’s movie Out of Africa. A collection of her New Yorker essays, Cleopatra’s Nose, was published in 2007. She received the Rungstedlund Prize and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award for prose style, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her latest book, A Left-Handed Woman: Essays, was published in December 2022 by FSG.