Reading Group on Une mort très douce by Simone de Beauvoir

Tue 4 June

This reading group is dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir’s Une mort très douce.

Short but moving, Une mort très douce recounts the final days of Simone de Beauvoir’s mother Francoise. Hospitalised after a fall, she is later diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, a prognosis which is kept from her by her daughters to avoid further distress. Terrified of death, Francoise clings to life with a devastating ferocity, whilst her health slips from her- and with it her autonomy and dignity.

At once a memorial to her mother as she once was, as well as a record of her end of life, de Beauvoir writes with great justice about what is still one of the greatest taboos in Western society, despite its inevitability- death itself. Filled with love and care, but brutally honest, this is a lesser-known work by one of France’s greatest authors, and an important account of death and old age.