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Monday, September 12, 2005

Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan and Un Zest de Rose by Les Parfums de Rosine

Bonjour Tristesse. Set against the radiant beauty of the South of France in summer, Bonjour Tristesse is narrated by Cécile, a seventeen-year-old, who is “not a girl, not yet a woman”, and whose meddling in her father's love life has some tragic results. Fresh from the confines of boarding school, Cécile leads a carefree hedonistic existence with her young-ish, handsome, good-natured and promiscuous father. This summer, Cécile has a sexual conquest of her own in the face of a “tall and almost beautiful" law student. La vie est belle, the sea is warm and the sky is without a single cloud. Then, a new and demanding woman appears in her father's life. Feeling that her cozy companionship with her father and their unrestrained lifestyle are being threatened, Cécile sets in motion a plan that has consequences more devastating than she ever imagined. Deceptively simply structured, Bonjour Tristesse is a brilliant portrait of laid-back amorality and a young woman's frantic attempt to comprehend and control the world around her.

Un Zest de Rose. This mélange of roses and citrus is translucent and sweet, the combination that seems so poignant to me. Its contrast of carefree freshness of mandarin, lemon and orange blossom and sultry almost-sugariness of roses is the reason I always think of it as a perfume that could represent Bonjour Tristesse. It is young, pretty and vulnerable. Moreover, to me, this fragrance has the same finesse, emotion and subtlety that I adore in Sagan’s writing. Un Zest de Rose starts all zest and no rose on me, then slowly the rose joins the lemon and for a while they are side by side like ingredients in some Turkish desert of sugared rose petals sprinkled with lemon juice. Finally, the perfume dries down to a rose scent with hints of lemon in the distance. (Notes: Lemon, bergamot, cedar, dried fruits; Bulgarian rose, tea rose jasmine, rose absolute; Rose, gardenia, white musk, gray amber, smoked tea leaves.) Apparently, there is a rose called Golden Zest, which has a strong citrus fragrance, perhaps that was what Madame Rogeon had in mind when she created this gorgeous summery scent. And if you found my idea of a rose-based dessert appealing, how about some rose petal jam? As poet Rumi said:

Touch your cheek to the cheek of sugar.
Get the taste of it. Give perfume to it.
Try to alleviate the pain of separation
With the help of sugar.
Once you become the conserve of roses,
You are food for the Soul,
Light for the eyes...
When I say "conserve of roses,"
I mean the Grace of God and our existence.


Blogger Nonna Gorilovskaya said...

Now you need to create a TatBlog and it will be a complete family pack...

7:28 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, M! Lovely post, it has been many years since I read Bonjour Tristesse and you have reminded me that it is time I re-read it. Un Zest is a lovely fragrance, and I was just about to buy it when I tried Yuzu Rouge, which eclipsed Un Zest in my affections.

8:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, dear R.! I love both Un Zest and Yuzu Rouge, and recently I discovered Flowerbelle Rouse, which is the same concept, roses and citrus, and at least 3 times cheaper. This rose-citrus type of fragrance works the best for me as far as rose scents are concerned.

10:29 AM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

What a lovely blog! I love Bonjour Tristesse, both the book and the film. Your comparison to Un Zest, a favourite of mine, is definitely interesting.

11:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear V., thank you! Also, I heard about the movie, but never tried to find it. If you liked it, that's a good enough recommendation for me. I guess I was rather scarred (and scared) by films based on some of my other favourite books...Bobby Deerfield (based on Heaven Has No Favourites) comes to mind straightaway *shudder*

11:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous xanax said...

I am not real fantastic with English but I come up this real leisurely to interpret.

7:06 PM EDT  

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