Thérèse and Isabelle

Violette Leduc

Sixty years after being deemed “scandalous” and censored, Violette Leduc’s explicit tale of an affair between two French schoolgirls is finally available to American audiences!

Drawing inspiration from Leduc’s own boarding school affair, Thérèse and Isabelle captures the unavoidable intensity (and imminent devastation) of first love. From yearning start to abrupt and devastating conclusion, the novel relentlessly pushes and pulls at ideas of fate and love.

Thérèse and Isabelle rests somewhere in the lesbian literary canon between Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt and Christa Winsloe’s “Children in Uniform.”   It bravely and sexily navigates two of the most taboo issues of its time—youthful lust and deviant female sexuality—and had it gone uncensored, the novel had the potential to set the bar for how queer female sexuality is depicted in contemporary literature.



About the Author

Violette Leduc


“Isabelle pulled me backwards, she laid me down across the eiderdown, lifted me, held me in her arms: she was releasing me from a world I had never lived in to launch me into one I could not yet inhabit. With her lips she parted mine, moistened my clenched teeth. The fleshiness of her tongue frightened me: the foreign sex did not enter. I waited, withdrawn, contemplative. The lips wandered over my lips: a dusting of petals. My heart was beating too loudly and I wanted to listen to this seal of sweetness, this soft new tracing. Isabelle is kissing me, I tell myself.”

Violette Leduc, Thérèse and Isabelle

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