It is Paris in July EVE!! And to celebrate this exciting event I will be talking about the first half of Gigi and the Cat by the wonderful Collette, a book I erroneously thought was all one story, imagining a kind of Holly Golightly-esque frenchy figure, living in some Parisian garret with her pet cat.
Well, I was completely wrong! This book is in fact two short stories, and it turned out that Gigi wasn’t half as mind-blowing as I expected and that The Cat, on the other hand, was utterly captivating – I will say more about that when I officially kick off Paris in July tomorrow evening.
These short stories should be dealt with separately purely because they are just completely different animals *pardon the pun*, both in style and in substance. Gilberte, or Gigi, as she is affectionately known by her loved ones, lives in a small apartment with her Grandmother and glamorous yet somewhat distant Mother Andrée, who earns her living performing in the theatre as an opera singer. However, I really don’t feel this trio of women living in a such an unconventional set-up in early twentieth century Paris were exploited as fully as they could have been. Colette’s writing is always so beautiful and evocative both in the original French and in translation and, herein lies one of my problems with short stories, there could have have been so much more to tell here! The blurb on the back promises the story of a young woman who is in the process of being groomed to become a courtesan; to harness her powerful sexuality and discover the finer things in life. Her glamorous Aunt ‘Alicia’ is an amazing character and, yet again, I needed MORE from her. I could have sat down beside Gigi for hours on end to be taught how to use my knife and fork correctly and how to apply my lipstick neatly. Not enough happens and I wonder (although I haven’t seen any of the adaptations of this tale for cinema, theatre etc) whether the creators of these alternative versions recognised the potential and were as desperate to develop it as I was.
This is a very stylish story. Utterly delicious and I want more please.
NB: I’ve just realised that I mentioned a link to Beyoncé’s performance at Glastonbury in my last post. I now realise how silly this is as I’m sure you’re all capable of typing the words into Youtube yourselves, however…since I mentioned it…