The Art of Sleeping Alone

The Art of Sleeping Alone

Why One French Woman Suddenly Gave Up Sex

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In a provocative memoir, the bestselling French novelist and iconic editor of French Elle describes her years of self-imposed celibacy—why she did it and how it changed her perspective: “A searching investigation into the power of no…a sophisticated bagatelle of a volume” (Dwight Garner, The New York Times).

After many years of having (and mostly enjoying) an active sex-life, Sophie Fontanel—beloved French author, journalist, editor, and fashion blogger—decided she wanted to take a break. Despite having a glamorous job, plenty of dates and boyfriends, stylish clothes, parties to attend, she wasn’t happy and wanted more. Sophie chose to give up her sex life, shocking her friends and colleagues. But what she discovers about herself is truly liberating and raises a number of questions about the expectations of our society. Going beyond the body, her thoughts on what it means to find happiness and fulfillment are inspiring.

As Sophie experiences being the only single person at dinner parties, weekend getaways, and summer vacations, she muses on what it means to find happiness and fulfillment alone, stringing “together her narrative in a series of lyrical vignettes…No one has written so sumptuously about celibacy” (The Daily Beast). Lovely and illuminating, The Art of Sleeping Alone, a major bestseller in France, offers an alternative take on modern-day conventions, making this a compelling read for anyone who has chosen to do things a little differently. As Vanity Fair says: “Leave it to a Frenchwoman to convert even giving up sex into an elegant gesture.”
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  • Scribner | 
  • 160 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451696288 | 
  • August 2014
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Read an Excerpt

With my elbows propped on the safety bar of the lift chair, I was raised up to where I just knew the sky would be blue, with fog slipping away like a skin skimmed from milk. I was looking at fir trees, mountaintops, immaculate planes of solid colors, and I was thinking: I want to find this calm for myself. As for the kind I’d already evaluated from personal experience, meaning the matchless scouring performed by sex, well, that no longer interested me. I’d had it with being taken and rattled around. I’d had it with handing myself over. I’d said yes too much. I hadn’t taken into account the tranquility my body required.... see more

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