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I checked out some of the stories by Colette on the basis of several mentions-in-passing by the Washington Post book guy Michael Dirda. The story I remember most clearly is "The Cat"(?), about a romantic triangle between a man and a woman and his cat. The scene on the balcony in this story is as vivid and suspenseful as anything I've ever read. I've picked up an edition of the collected Claudine novels in a bargain paperback, but haven't started it yet.

My main impression is that Colette is kind of a "sensualist", in the way that maybe Kate Chopin is: the writing is filled with the sensory perceptions of its characters; smells, tastes, touches. This "sensory" thing seems almost distinctively female. The perspective is also very different from what I typically read: Colette a 20th century French woman, her writing translated into English. Sometimes I have felt I was missing the point, other times that she wasn't talking to me. That it requires a leap on my part to get into her work.

Yet I think she's worth the effort. I will definitely give the Claudine novels a try. Any other thoughts on Colette?

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