In free-spirited Paris, Jules and Jim live a carefree, bohemian existence. They write in cafes, travel when the mood takes them, and share the women they love without jealousy. Women like Lucie, flawless, an abbess, and Odile, impulsive, ...
mischievous, almost feral. But it is Kate - with a smile the two friends had determined to always follow before they even met her, but capricious enough to jump in the Seine from spite - who steals their hearts most thoroughly. Henri-Pierre Roche was in his mid-seventies when he wrote this, his autobiographical debut novel. The inspiration for the legendary film, it captures perfectly with excitement and great humour the tenderness of three people in love with each other and with life.
I thought I'd read this book before seeing the classic film ... but have been disappointed at how irritating all the characters are, and how the story doesn't really go anywhere, and often just feels repetitive. The two lead men - best friends Jules
..." and Jim - happily share their women, and the lead woman Catherine just comes across as a selfish, over-indulged 'goddess' who regularly abandons her children to have exciting and intense romantic adventures. ...Maybe I'm just envious of her ability to put her happiness absolutely before everyone else's... But it all just seems too idealistic in its perfection - and therefore irritating. It reminds me of a bad autobiography.
See Germaine Greer's more detailed review of the film and the subject matter of the book: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/may/24/francoistruffaut.worldcinema