It’s true. The book is about two young women who have to struggle with impending hardships. One lost his life, the other gained freedom. Sylvie met Andrey in class when she was nine years old and fell in love with her immediately. They were about the same age, from similar backgrounds, had pious, staid mothers, and attended the same Catholic girls’ school, taught by Jesuit nuns. They became good friends, and the nun called them two inseparable. Sylvie was well-mannered, well-behaved, and had the best grades in her class. Andrei is equally smart, but she disdains to take the first test. She is brave, independent, funny, competitive, versatile, dares to stick her tongue out to her mother in public on stage, can recite Tristan and Isolde, and categorically deny that there is a platonic love between the hero and heroine, making little The pals are embarrassed—they know, of course, that the opposite of platonic is sensuality. Sylvie is the personification of author Simone de Beauvoir, and André represents her teenage best friend Elizabeth Lacouvin, nicknamed Zaza. Beauvoir cherished this friendship and repeated it throughout his life. In 1958, she published the first volume of her memoirs, “Lady Duanfang”, in which Zaza occupies an important position (the cover of the Chinese translation is a photo of Zaza and Simone). But in fact, in the previous four years, she had written Zaza’s story into a novel, but did not name the manuscript but pressed it into the bottom of the box, which was never published before her death in 1986. In 2020, thanks to the efforts of her adopted daughter Sylvie, it was first published in France under the name “Inseparable”. ”If there are tears in my eyes tonight,” Beauvoir wrote in an inscription to Zaza, “is it because you are dead, or is it because I am the one who is still alive? ” to 22 years old.
In the novel Inseparable, a pair of inseparable friends are both trapped in the strict constraints of capitalist etiquette, but everything related to real life is like a sin. Fortunately, Sylvie made a choice: “I made up my mind to continue eating, drinking, reading, talking, and dreaming as I wanted. ‘I don’t believe in God!’ I thought to myself. How can I believe in God while deliberately disobeying him? Face the obvious: I don’t believe in God.” The
otherwise obedient Sylvie saved herself by completing her rebellion in adolescence. Andrei was unable to get out of the shackles of religion and family obligations, neither the courage nor the ability to escape the suffocating oppression and cunning manipulation of her mother. In fact, the mother herself was a victim of an arranged marriage. The grandmother harmed the mother, and the mother came to harm her. She didn’t have an hour of her own. She wants to be a good daughter and wants to be happy, but she is always anxious about the conflict between the two. She longed for carnal love early on, but it was incompatible with God’s love—to love her fiancé before marriage was to doubt that God’s grace was enough to provide a woman with all the love she needed. She was getting tired and weaker. She suffered from anorexia and even considered suicide, but in the end she was only brave enough to self-mutilate—a meticulous plan that only hurt the flesh but not the bones—and cut her own feet with an axe while chopping wood, Very proud of this small victory afterwards.
She can only pin all her hopes on her lover Pascal (called Pradler in “Lady of the Square”, who is actually Maurice Merleau-Ponty, who later gave up Catholicism and joined the Communist Party, becoming a famous philosopher) , wanted to escape the family by getting engaged to him, but was opposed by the mother and rejected by the man. You can feel Pascal’s fear of her: she’s clearly lost her way in both life and faith.
Unlike her, Sylvie became more and more intellectually mature, and after passing exams after exams, she decided to study philosophy at the Sorbonne. Andrei’s grades are also excellent, but her life seems to have entered a dead end. In her early twenties, she was exhausted, exhausted. The death of Xiangxiaoyu was of course an accident, but no matter how you looked at it, it seemed like an inescapable ending.
Beauvoir never forgot Zaza’s death. The last sentence of “Lady Duanfang” is: “We fought together against the bad fate that awaited us, and for a long time I thought that her death was the price paid for my freedom.”
”Inseparable” is by no means an immature novella study. In the year Beauvoir wrote this book, he had already published the novel “The Merry of Honor”, for which he won the highest prize in French literature – the Goncourt Prize. She gave up publishing because Sartre, an old comrade with whom she had an open-ended romantic relationship, thought it was too petty to deserve her reputation as a thinker, and so “sniffed.”
Sartre’s literary taste is dubious, because Beauvoir’s talent as a novelist is clearly visible in the book. The restraint of her narrative and the richness of its meaning, the delicateness of her emotions and the ingeniousness of her writing, continue to bring us joy and excitement (Cao Dongxue – she does not have many translations, but she has always been a guarantee of quality – the meticulous and thoughtful translation also adds to the fragrant). Even when she writes about tableware and ingredients, flowers and landscapes, there is nothing superfluous and everything is wonderful. Forgive my limited knowledge, but it’s rare for writers to liken talkative elders to exhibitionism. Sylvie felt betrayed when she found out that the priest who had listened to her confession for eight years was just an “old man who likes to talk about it”: “Father Dominic forgives my sins, and when I left the confession, the blood went to the forehead. Chong, I escaped from the church without repenting. At that time, my heart was shaken more than one day in the subway, a man lifted his coat and showed me a pink thing.” Since then, whenever I am in the aisle When she saw the priest’s black robe, she blushed and ran away.
It is conceivable that some readers will listen to the rumors and think that this is a fragrant lesbian novel. They may be disappointed. It may be that lesbians are paying for themselves, that misogyny is deliberately demeaning friendships between women, or that it is purely a commercial gimmick played by publishers. And who can answer me, why are there two modern women in fashionable trousers on the cover of the Chinese version?
Beauvoir expert Kate Kirkpatrick (whose book “Being Beauvoir” has been translated into Chinese) wrote last year in the British magazine Literary Review that Inseparable is in fact “a profound theological novel. If the book was written by a man or written by a man, it would probably be called a Dostoevsky work.”
Compared with Zaza’s premature death, Simone’s freedom is even more precious. “I do not deny my femininity, nor am I unacceptable for its determinism, I just don’t care about it,” Beauvoir wrote in another volume of his memoirs, “The Power of Time.” Men are equally free and responsible. Dependence is the misfortune that afflicts most women, whether they themselves suffer from it or are at ease or enjoy it, it is women’s misfortune after all: ever since I wrote After “The Second Sex”, my view became more and more firm, and I got rid of this attachment.”