Chéri was the first book I read in 2016. Well, to be honest, it was a book I started in 2015 but finished in 2016.
The story revolves around a handsome young boy, named Chéri (obviously) who has a torrid love affair with an aging courtesan, Léa, who happens to be his mother’s friend – enemy. When Chéri’s wedding is fixed, they decide to call off their affair. Little do they know what ramifications this will have on both of them. As it turns out, both Chéri and Léa are more closely entwined than they would like to believe. And each one spends their break up being tormented in their own way.
(I do not want to give away the ending of the book but it was as expected, is all I will say on the matter!)
The story in itself was not a revelation. However, I believe it would have been so in the year 1920, what with it having a courtesan and an extra marital affair! For me, the story was a bit of an up and down. There were moments when I was completely enamoured by both Chéri and Léa and then there were moments where it was difficult to keep reading.
It is possible that in our current times, an affair, a spoilt young man and a lonely courtesan do not break many hearts and neither do they capture any. Maybe we hear it so very often that we have become de – sensitised to it. I perceive the book to be instilling the stereotypes that we have all come to understand and possible agree with.
Now, if only the affair was between a cicisbeo (male version of a courtesan) and a young spoilt woman who gets married, I would have probably found it a lot more engaging! 😉