It’s been a while since I read “Bonjour Liberté. Françoise Sagan und der Aufbruch in die Freiheit” (Françoise Sagan and the emergence into freedom) by Julia Korbik. So I’m happy to finally write a review for this special biography!
I read “Bonjour Liberté” last month and I really enjoyed it. In her book Korbik chronicles the 1950s of Françoise Sagan’s life in post-war France. During this decade she turned from Françoise Quoirez, a teenager dreaming about writing, into Françoise Sagan, the celebrated author and literary star. I fell in love with Françoise Sagan’s writing last year. So I was very excited to learn more I’d about her, her writing and life.
In Germany Julia Korbik, the author, is mainly known for her books on feminism and has previously written a biography of Simone de Beauvoir. Her portrayal presents Sagan as a free spirit who has her own mind and approach to life and pursues one thing above all: liberty. In “Bonjour Liberté” she also shows how this era shaped Sagan’s life. Not only did she become a literary star in those years but she also met important people who shaped her life.
“Bonjour Liberté” discusses how the media celebrated Sagan and turned her into an icon but also how her work and writing was often dismissed and met with misogynist criticism. For me that aspect was the strongest part of the book because it showed how even important writers as Sagan were affected by the still persisting misogyny of the literary sphere.
The biography is an homage to this outstanding French writer but it doesn’t idolize her. It also shows Sagan’s imperfections, her struggles and her privileged position in an era that was still so much more unequal than today.
“Bonjour Liberté” is different than other biographies because it just focuses on one decade in the long life of Françoise Sagan. I really enjoyed this selective approach by Korbik because while it doesn’t include every detail of the author’s life it still manages to show how she became who she was and how this special decade changed her life.
As someone who didn’t know much about Sagan yet I learned a lot of new things about her through this biography. Some I had briefly heard of before like her struggles with gambling, money and addiction. Others were completely new to me like her family background or her bisexuality.
I really enjoyed reading “Bonjour Liberté”. The books is rather light, easy and very enjoyable read. Personally my favourite part of the biography was how Korbik shows how misogynist literary criticism affected the reception of Sagan’s work. But I also just enjoyed to get to know Sagan a little better.
The book also really put me in the mood to read another book by her. I thought about trying “Do you like Brahms…?” next. Have you read anything by Françoise Sagan?
If you’d like to read more book reviews, you can find them here. I previously also reviewed Sagan’s novels “Bonjour Tristesse” and “A Certain Smile“. Feel free to check them out, if you want to learn more about Sagan’s writing.