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Extended Audio Sample La Vagabonde, 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:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by Meg | 1/25/2014

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

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