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Download La Vagabonde Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample La Vagabonde Audiobook, by Colette Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,011 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Colette Narrator: Johanna Ward Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455173099
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Largely autobiographical, La Vagabonde recalls the author’s own years as a dance-hall performer in turn-of-the-century Paris. Colette takes the listener backstage and into the demimonde of Renée Néré, an aging dancer, mime, and failed writer. In a sultry, passionate, and intelligent voice, Renée narrates the story of her romance with an admirer named Maxime. Her struggle is that of a woman who must choose between freedom and love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Ward presents the controlled, but deep, emotion of this woman struggling to release the pain and frustration of an abusive first marriage and to enjoy the almost painfully awkward ardor of her suitor.”

    AudioFile

  • “A rousing novel of love and guile, of vulnerability and vituperative wit, of poetry and self-emporwerment, a slim volume scored with little wisdoms, sumptuous descriptions and the ‘heroic vanity’ of an unforgettable cast.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “[An] enchanting, sincere, and beautifully constructed novel…[Colette’s] hoarse cry of loss voices the complex anguish of our time.”

    New York Times Book Review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 2/6/2014

    " So sad! A woman's thoughts on love, work, and relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 2/4/2014

    " Ok, so I didn't get all the way through it this time. It's fuckin' hot out, ok? And this is more of a winter story. But I have read it before and it's a-fucking-mazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tanya | 1/31/2014

    " This is probably one of the best books I've read in a long, long time. So beautiful and smart. Colette's voice, the musings and revelations of Renee in the novel, the conflict between carving out a self-sufficient and fulfilling life (even if it's a financial struggle) vs relying on a romantic partner to provide all that is missing . . . Even though back then the choice being between a married woman looked after by her husband or instead being a "vagabond," a "woman of letters gone bad" who supports herself independently was a decision that came with many societal stigmas attached, it's still relevant. I think we still face a lot of similar judgement, just on a different scale. Maybe back in the 19th century and early 20th, a woman was respected for doing nothing but being a woman and wife and mother. These days, some of the similar perceptions linger, but also there is the reverse: if you are not doing everything and all, you are somehow less of a person. We are presented with so many choices that no matter which choice we make, it will always somehow seem not enough to people, or not the right one. Renee makes her choices and she's solitary. Through writing and self reflection she arrives at the decision that is right for her. I think I'll re-read "Break of Day" after this. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 1/25/2014

    " I loved it. It made me feel grown-up and intellectual while reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 1/14/2014

    " Colette is always a great read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crystal | 1/3/2014

    " Je t'aime Colette. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krissy | 12/20/2013

    " Maybe it had to do with the time that I read this, but truly a wrenching, true examination of a woman's choice between love and freedom. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie | 12/8/2013

    " A great "early feminism" book. She's a travelling actress that doesn't want to be tied down by love. She has the opportunities but her spirit longs to be free. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Xio | 11/19/2013

    " for the beach "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenny U | 9/8/2013

    " Delightful! I love how independent Renee is. Colette really captures what it is like to be a woman who must choose between career and love. A quick read and an overall enjoyable novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melanie Jennings | 6/5/2013

    " I have loved everything I've read by Colette. She's written so many books that I may never read them all, but what a nice problem to have. The first fifty pages of this book are absolute poetry, line by line. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney Hlebo | 10/25/2012

    " A disappointing ending, to be sure! Still, Colette writes beautifully, and that somewhat redeems the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kjersti Egerdahl | 9/1/2012

    " About a divorced woman making a living on the stage in Paris - I assumed it would be melancholy and romantic, but it was actually a little too melancholy for me! The fresh, cold, chilling breeze of freedom and all that... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 6/2/2012

    " A well written account of a woman's choice between independent loneliness and boring domesticity (the latter leading to disillusion). Set behind the stage in French musical theatre a hundred years ago; deserves to be better known. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Izabela Dykowska | 1/24/2012

    " Absolutely loved it! Deep insight into the feminine psyche, that few manage to convey so vividly and at the same time so successfully to broad audiences. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 5/13/2011

    " The Big Noodle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonathan | 2/18/2011

    " What a great ending. I hated Maxime and was glad to see that Renée left him at the end to further pursue her life as a performer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 12/29/2010

    " A well written account of a woman's choice between independent loneliness and boring domesticity (the latter leading to disillusion). Set behind the stage in French musical theatre a hundred years ago; deserves to be better known.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 7/26/2010

    " Colette poses the question, "Is it possible for a woman to retain self-identity in love?" Her answer: no.
    Her delicate, melancholic imagery and descriptions of life as a mime in early 20th Paris make it all the more beautiful to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joell | 3/3/2010

    " Delicious. I understand that this is a vaguely autobiographical story from Collette. Instead of being a foiled love story, it's a beautifully told story of a woman learning to love and trust herself. Mmmmmm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meg | 11/17/2009

    " I loved it. It made me feel grown-up and intellectual while reading it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Krissy | 9/20/2009

    " Maybe it had to do with the time that I read this, but truly a wrenching, true examination of a woman's choice between love and freedom. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ashley | 8/25/2009

    " Colette is always a great read. "

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About the Author
Author Colette

Sidonie Colette (1873–1954), French literary genius, wrote over fifty novels amid a life of scandal. Her first husband took credit for her early works, but then she achieved fame as the author of such works as Chéri and Gigi. She was the first woman to be given an official state funeral by France.

About the Narrator

Johanna Ward (a.k.a. Kate Reading) is an Audie® Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.