‘Ripening Seed’ by Colette

'Ripening Seed' by Colette

I am still able to vividly remember my first brushes with love. I remember the awkwardness, the pain, the confusion and the uncontrollable desires – as I am sure most individuals can. First love and the first flurried awakenings of passion is something that all feel – no matter age, gender or generation. To float through the pages of Colette’s ‘Ripening Seed’ is to revisit this time in life, except with a great deal more beauty and poetry. The reader is able to easily relate to her budding young lovers and see themselves – youthful again – in their eyes.

The premise of the story is thus – Philippe and Vinca, 16 and 15 respectively, have grown up together and loved each other all their lives albeit in what is arguably a very innocent and childlike fashion. However, as the young couple experience the aging and growth of both body and mind, their feelings and desires begin to change and mature – as they are.

Vinca is the more quiet of the pair. She is younger, less ambitious, more apt to listening to her elders, more patient, and has given her young heart – in every sense of the word – to Philippe. She perseveres through Philippe’s moods and growing pains with grace and acceptance; for even through Philippe’s changeable mien, she is just pleased to have him near.

‘She enveloped him in a look full of feminine wisdom, that overflowed with the wiles and concessions of overweening love … “All the time you’re teasing and tormenting me,” she [Vinca] said, “At least I have you near me”.’

Philippe on the other hand, is a boy who wishes desperately to be a man, now, today, without wasting any more time waiting. He is emotional and changeable, and though he loves Vinca, Philippe begins and consummates an affair with a much older woman; an affair that does not go unnoticed by the observant Vinca. Philippe is prone through the tale to expressions of passion and verbal outbursts – one of my most favorite being quoted below.

‘One would have to be a raving lunatic to try to find out what a woman wants, or to imagine that she knows herself!’

As a long-time reader and fan of French authoress, Colette, this novel has trumped all other novels and firmly implanted itself at the top most spot in my heart. Colette has written a timeless story, one that can be felt by every generation from now until the end of time. I highly recommend this tale – it is a short, fast read and worth every second you spend absorbing the enchanting words and innocent story. And the ending will perhaps surprise and thrill you in the same way it did me.

Salon Summary

RECOMMENDABILITY: 5 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★★
REPETITIVE READABILITY: 4 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★☆
RATING: 5 {out of 5} stars | ★★★★★

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Ripening Seed