28. She Came to Stay 

“Affairs, existentialism, and Paris.”

I am sad to say that again, here is a novel I have no will to finish. This novel comes quite shortly after my last abandoned conquest Gulliver’s Travels. There are many reasons why I put this novel down, it wasn’t for a lacking writing style or for lack of interesting subject matter, I just simply believe that I am at the wrong point in my life for this novel. It is an awful shame because I am a fan of Simone de Beauvoir’s second wave feminism. I have been engaging with her ideas for five years now, alongside other literary critics, so much that their works have become like braille to me. I do not simply read or write these ideas and concepts I feel them. So I’m terribly disappointed! This could’ve been a wonderful affair. It’s just not the right time.

She Came to Stay – Simone de Beauvoir

What is it the novel about? She came to Stay or, in French, L’Invitée, was first published in 1943 as a debut. It is the fictional account of her and Jean-paul Sartre’s relationship with Olga Kosakiewicz and Wanda Kosakiewicz.

It is set in Paris on the eve of and during World War II, the novel revolves around Françoise, who’s open relationship with her partner Pierre becomes strained when they form a ménage à trois with her young friend Xaviere. In short, the novel explores existentialist concepts such as freedom, angst, and the other. There is a lot to engage with in this novel that simply I either do not have the energy or the will to handle right now.

The translation I have is beautifully written, it simply feels elegant on the page. But this is just the wrong moment for this novel. I’m not entirely sure when the apt moment in my life for this novel would be, perhaps when I have more time to engage with this on a level that I feel satisfies, perhaps when my mind is full of romantic inclinations. Who knows.

So with much regret, She Came to Stay, goes back onto the ‘to read’ pile, probably to be semi buried for a few years until I am ready for it.


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