Years after her death, a new novel by Simone de Beauvoir is about to be published. According to a report in The Guardian, the novel was considered to be too intimate to be published while she was alive. It will now be out next year. It is about a passionate friendship the French writer shared with a girl called Elisabeth “Zaza” Lacoin. The latter had passed away at the age of 21.
The same report states that it was found by her daughter, Sylvie Le Bon-de Beauvoir in her archives. It will be published by Vintage and Charlotte Knight; a senior editor was quoted as describing it as “a moving, gripping coming-of-age novel about female friendship and finding one’s own way in the world.” “Beauvoir’s real-life intense, formative relationship with her friend Zaza shaped, in many ways, the woman Beauvoir was to become – while Beauvoir broke free, Zaza never found a way out,” Vintage was quoted as saying. Even though the friendship was never written about explicitly, it was touched upon in her other works like Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter.
Speaking to the New York Times, her literary executor Le Bon-de Beauvoir said the manuscript was read by her in 1986 and even though Beauvoir had passed away by then, it did not materialise. “When she wrote it, in 1954, she had already honed her craft as a writer,” remarked Le Bon-de Beauvoir, who is planning to release more fiction from the author. “She destroyed some works that she was unhappy with. She didn’t destroy this one. About her papers, she told me, ‘You’ll do as you think is right’,” she said.
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