Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $60.93

After 2 months, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

A dazzling biography of the French literary superstar Colette, who is also the subject of a major motion picture.

“A fine and intelligent biography of Colette, with her long tumultuous life and the great body of her work scrupulously considered and presented with style.” (The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice)

National Book Award Finalist

Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award

Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award

Having spent her childhood in the shadow of an overpowering mother, Colette escaped at age 20 into a turbulent marriage with the sexy, unscrupulous Willy - a literary charlatan who took credit for her bestselling Claudine novels. Weary of Willy’s sexual domination, Colette pursued an extremely public lesbian love affair with a niece of Napoleon’s. At 40, she gave birth to a daughter who bored her, at 47 she seduced her teenage stepson, and in her seventies she contributed to the pro-Nazi press during the Occupation, even though her beloved third husband, a Jew, had been arrested by the Gestapo. 

And all the while, this incomparable woman poured forth a torrent of masterpieces, including Gigi, Sido, Cheri, and Break of Day. Judith Thurman, author of the National Book Award-winning biography of Isak Dinesen, portrays Colette as a thoroughly modern woman: frank in her desires, fierce in her passions, forever reinventing herself. Rich with delicious gossip and intimate revelations, shimmering with grace and intelligence, Secrets of the Flesh is one of the great biographies of our time.

Chosen as one of the Best Books of the Year by The Village Voice and Newsday

“[Colette] has been the subject of....a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top.... Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating.” (The Washington Post Book World)

“It will stand as literature in its own right.” (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times)

“[An] essential biography by a stylish writer of great sympathetic understanding and intellectual authority.” (Philip Roth)

©2016 Judith Thurman (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A fine and intelligent biography of Colette, with her long tumultuous life and the great body of her work scrupulously considered and presented with style.” (The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice) 

"[Colette] has been the subject of...a half-dozen significant biographies over the past thirty years. Yet this one by Judith Thurman will be hard to top.... Its prose is smoothly urbane, at times aphoristic, always captivating." (The Washington Post Book World)

"It will stand as literature in its own right." (Richard Bernstein, The New York Times)

What listeners say about Secrets of the Flesh

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Phip Herrick
  • Phip Herrick
  • 22-04-2021

More than just a biography

I have no idea how thick the printed version is of Secrets if the Flesh but I’m certain that it would make an excellent tomb in which one could press a favorite flower.

I have listened now for several weeks to this reading about an era in Paris about which I thought I knew much but now I realize how superficial was my knowledge.

Now, I feel as though I have had an intimate and loving glimpse into the Demi Monde and all of its fun, scandalous and sometimes heart breaking scrambles. This world of Colette is fascinating and Judith Thurman has obviously has enjoyed researching everything about her subject and the time and places in which she moved.

Judith Thurmans writing is wonderful, artful even. Had this been a hard copy I would have wanted to dog ear it’s pages snd underline its sentences not just for the facts but for the authors perceptions about the human condition.

I did not want this book to end. I have enjoyed it immensely.

1 person found this helpful

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.