Consuelo de Saint-Exupery, |
translated by Esther Allen,
The Tale of the Rose:
The Love Story Behind the Little Prince
(Random House, 2003)
A couple of years after Antoine de Saint-Exupery died, Consuelo de Saint-Exupery wrote the story of their love. It was not published at the time, and was only found years after she too had died. The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind the Little Prince shows much of who they were and their relationship.
Consuelo tells the story as it was, and given that the relationship between the Little Prince and his Rose echoes that of Consuelo and Antoine; it can be a bit strange at times. She gives a very intimate view of the balance between distance and passion that did not always work out very well. Yet, throughout it all they loved each other.
Near the end she writes directly to Antoine, continuing the narrative, then switches back to telling the story, ending at their last farewell. Consuelo tells the story from moment to moment, with the emotions serving as a backdrop for what happened. Dates are mentioned but rarely, and most of those can be found in the footnotes, and the chapter headings. The picture that emerges is of a passionate man, and his vices and virtues are displayed in what he said and did. Less is revealed about Consuelo herself, but her thoughts, emotions and actions are also very much a part of the book.
The introduction by Esther Allen explains several things about the book itself, the story that is told and Consuelo de Saint-Exupery. There are also pictures of both Antoine and Consuelo.
Consuelo wrote a very honest story about a very passionate relationship. The highs and the lows are included, and in this relationship they were quite extreme. This was Consuelo's way of showing the man she loved to the world. It is a pity she chose not to publish it and fortunate that it was found in the end.