LES ADIEUX by Francois-Regis Bastide


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Les adieux. That's what les adieux are, when you no longer have the strength to hope, when you no longer own your own soul, when you say 'until tonight' and you know you won't be going anywhere..."" so is defined- and concluded- the life of Prince Alexis Stellovski, a white Russian emigre in Paris, who shares with Choralita Brichs, a Swedish translator, the shabby anonymity of exile. From such unpromising material, two rather bedraggled figures who live on nothing and off others. Bastide has shaped an exceedingly effective novel. To Choralita's life of ""tea and biscuits and little economies"" as a teacher in a small language institute, the Prince brings a secondhand glamor; a counterfeit character, engaged by the Gestapo during the war, he has a certain bravura and she gives him her love and loyalty for which he has little use. The end of the war takes them on the run and they are harbored by an old friend of the Prince's. When they return to Paris, he abandons Choralita who is the victim of his past associations- she loses her job, and he himself has no further asylum when one of those he has betrayed turns on him..... The winner of the Prix Femina this novel lends a curious compassion to its portrayal of the disinherited and the hapless circumstances of their lives- and there is a definite brilliance of style. An American audience, however, will be difficult to isolate.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1958
Publisher: Simon & Schuster