Deux petites bourgeoises by Colombe Schneck
Paris, the 1970s. Héloïse and Esther meet at the prestigious Ecole Alsacienne. Their friendship is immediate and will remain unwavering. Both come from well-off families: Héloïse is Catholic and the daughter of a notary; Esther is Jewish, and her father is a surgeon. Of the two, Héloïse is the quieter, more focused, and more balanced one. Less studious, Esther already shows a propensity towards dissatisfaction. With no need left unfulfilled thanks to their loving parents, the young girls go through adolescence in the greatest comfort. Unaware of how happy they are, they are convinced that life will be nothing more than a succession of pleasures, of exciting challenges to overcome and rewards to reap. They go to the best schools, have the best internships, find good jobs (that are of course less prestigious and certainly less well-paid than those of their male counterparts). Of course, this makes them angry, but is it necessarily tragic? Not really. They marry well, have beautiful children, live in beautiful apartments that they own. They drift apart–absorbed in their own lives of being active women and mothers–only to be brought back together again by their respective divorces…
Deux petites bourgeoises could have been just a bittersweet comedy about the 1970s bourgeoisie, where–like in a Claude Sautet film–life unfurls with its pleasures and losses bathed in elegance. But Colombe Schneck’s readers know from experience that they cannot trust the sour softness of the book’s first pages. For when the times of struggle that have been long held at bay catch up with these two heroines, they become just like you or I: they do the best that they can.
Seeking neither pity nor absolution–and with tenderness, humor, and great precision–Colombe Schneck shows us these two lives built on a pedestal of friendship for life and death; a friendship that will last forever in the pages of this book and in the mind of whoever reads it.
Deux petite bourgeoises, a novel by Colombe Schneck, Stock
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