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I still prefer a life that has its ups and downs. A contented, uneventful life is no life at all as far as I'm concerned. I said I thought life was a sick joke. That doesn't mean I'm a pessimist. It may be sick, but it's still a joke; it's still funny. I've no illusions about the absurdity of life, but I'm still cheerful about it. Twenty-six years ago, a short novel called Bonjour Tristesse, written by an unknown eighteen-year-old, was published in France. Called by one reviewer a beautifully written malicious little tale, the story about a young girl who drives her potential stepmother to suicide sold over one million copies, was translated into twelve languages and became a modern classic. Francoise Sagan, its young author, became a legend and her fast life-style a symbol of postwar cynicism. As celebrity-seeking journalists moved in and kept the public informed (and misinformed) about her expensive tastes, changing lovers, passion for drink, gambling and sports cars, Sagan continued to write novels, plays and film scripts, avoiding the public eye as much as possible. Now, in this extended interview prepared by her French publisher, we have the opportunity to meet the real woman behind the myth. At forty-five we find her witty, simple and dazzlingly profound as she talks about her childhood, love, loneliness, money, fame, politics, drinking, predilections, writing, the theatre and films, friendship, religion, happiness, death, marriage. In these conversations it is clear that Sagan speaks as she writes, and she writes superbly. To read Nightbird is to be in the company of a fascinating woman. [via]