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French Novelist Francoise Sagan Dead - 2004-09-24


French novelist Francoise Sagan, known for her haunting novel, Bonjour Tristesse, died Friday at the age of 69.

The Agence France-Presse news agency reported Ms. Sagan died in a hospital in the Normandy town of Honfleur Friday evening. The news agency cited cardio-respiratory problems as the cause of death.

Doctors said the novelist had been admitted several times in recent months to the hospital, which was near her home.

Ms. Sagan catapulted to fame as a teenager, with her first novel Bonjour Tristesse (Hello Sadness). The bittersweet work depicted life of French bourgeois society at its most sophisticated and cynical. Ms. Sagan came from the same upper class surroundings that she wrote about.

The book was published in 20 languages, and was a major success in Europe and the United States.

Ms. Sagan went on to write several more novels, along with poetry and screenplays. She achieved a cult status in the literary world, similar, some say, to that achieved by the American painter Andy Warhol in the art world.

Along with her works, Ms. Sagan's private life also fascinated her public. She was reported addicted to painkillers and alcohol, and enjoyed fast cars. She narrowly escaped a fatal crash in 1957.

Ms. Sagan's finances were also shaky. And in 2002, she received a suspended prison sentence for failing to declare a large payment made to a French construction firm for her manor house in Normandy.

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