I bought a boxed-set of some of Colette's novels, thinking that maybe they'd give me some insight into the lives of outrageous 1920's Parisian femme-fatales.
Having just finished "Chéri"...well, I'm not feeling too enlightened. Maybe it's because her characters are unlikeable and dull and her writing is clunky. Maybe her "pearl necklace" theme got on my nerves. Maybe stories about vicious middle-aged women need to be awfully good before I start to enjoy them...
...but all-in-all, "Chéri" struck me as a relatively dull story about vacuous, spoiled people who suddenly suffered an unrealistic moment of conscience during the last few pages. This is probably what I should have expected from a story about a kept woman and her emotionally-retarded boy-toy, and it's possible that her awkward style was due more to the translation than to her own writing ability.
But I wonder if the thrill of Colette had more to do with her outrageous life than it did to her storytelling ability?