Ch�ri, first published in 1920, is considered Colette's finest novel. Exquisitely handsome, spoilt and sardonic, Ch�ri is the only son of a wealthy courtesan, a contemporary of L�a, the magnificent and talented woman who for six years has devoted herself to his amorous education.
When a rich marriage is arranged for Ch�ri, L�a reluctantly decides their relationship must end. Ch�ri, despite his apparent detachment, is haunted by memories of L�a; alienated from his wife, his family and his surroundings, he retreats into a fantasy world made up of dreams and the past, a world from which there is only one route of escape.
In her portrait of the fated love affair between a very young man and a middle-aged woman, Colette achieved a peak in her earthy, sensuous and utterly individual art. Ch�ri caused considerable controversy both in its choice of setting - the fabulous demi-monde of the Parisian courtesans - and in its portrayal of Ch�ri.