Retreat from Love
In an isolated farmhouse in the Jura, Claudine awaits her husband Renaud's return from a Swiss sanatorium. She distracts herself by encouraging her young friend Annie to recount salacious episodes from her love life. When Renaud's homosexual son Marcel arrives, Claudine sets about matchmaking, a fiasco she bitterly regrets.
With Renaud's death, Claudine's ennui is transmuted into resigned suffering. But she gradually allows the rhythm and beauty of the natural world to reawaken her desire to live.
Retreat From Love, first published in 1907, was the first of Colette's novels to be written without the collaboration of her husband 'Willy', from whom she had recently separated.
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angry angry silence Annie Annie's apricot arms Bayreuth beautiful bedroom Belle-Île-en-Mer beneath Besançon blue body bull terrier caress Carlsbad Casamène cheeks child Claudine Claudine à Paris Claudine's cold Colette color creature cretonne cried dark darling dear delightful dress espalier everything eyelids eyes face feel felt finger flowers forget frightened garden gaze girl gleaming hair hands head husband laugh laughter leaned leave lips living look Lord Vendramin Marcel Marthe Maugis mauve mime drama Montigny mouth murmured nice night nose once pale Paris Parsifal Payet Péronnelle pine cones pink poor remember Renaud Retreat from Love Rézi rose Rusinol Sarah Bernhardt shoulder sigh silent silly skin sleep slightly slowly smell smile snow stepson Suzie talk tell There's thing thought tired Toby trees trembling turned Virginia creeper voice warm woman words yellow young