David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair

David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair

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by Irene Nemirovsky

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Readers everywhere were introduced to the work of Irène Némirovsky through the publication of her long-lost masterpiece, Suite Française. But Suite Française was only the coda to the brief yet remarkably prolific career of this nearly forgotten, magnificent novelist. Here in one volume are four of Némirovsky’s

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Readers everywhere were introduced to the work of Irène Némirovsky through the publication of her long-lost masterpiece, Suite Française. But Suite Française was only the coda to the brief yet remarkably prolific career of this nearly forgotten, magnificent novelist. Here in one volume are four of Némirovsky’s other novels–all of them newly translated by the award-winning Sandra Smith, and all, except DAVID GOLDER, available in English for the first time.

DAVID GOLDER is the novel that established Néirovsky’s reputation in France in 1929 when she was twenty-six. It is a novel about greed and lonliness, the story of a self-made business man, once wealthy, now suffering a breakdown as he nears the lonely end of his life. THE COURILOF AFFAIR tells the story of a Russian revolutionary living out his last days–and his recollections of his first infamous assassination. Also included are two short, gemlike novels: THE BALL, a pointed exploration of adolescence and the obsession with status among the bourgeoisie; and SNOW IN AUTUMN, an evocative tale of White Russian émigrés in Paris after the Russian Revolution.

Introduced by celebrated novelist Claire Messud, this collection of four spellbinding novels offers the same storytelling mastery, powerful clarity of language, and empathic grasp of human behavior that would give shape to Suite Française.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Stunning . . . [Némirovsky] wrote, for all to read at last, some of the greatest, most humane and incisive fiction that conflict has produced.”
New York Times Book Review

“Némirovsky’s scope is like that of Tolstoy: she sees the fullness of humanity and its tenuous arrangements and manages to put them together with a tone that is affectionate, patient, and relentlessly honest.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“Extraordinary . . . Némirovsky achieve[s] her penetrating insights with Flaubertian objectivity.”
The Washington Post Book World

“Brilliant . . . [Némirovsky wrote] with supreme lucidity [and] expressed with great emotional precision her understanding of the country that betrayed her.”
The Nation

[Némirovsky had] an alert eye for self-deceit, a tender regard for the natural world, and a forlorn gift for describing the crumbling, sliding descent of an entire society into catastrophic disorder.”
London Review of Books

“Transcendent, astonishing . . . Like Anne Frank, Irène Némirovsky was unaware . . . that she might not survive. And still, she writes to us.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A novelist of the very first order, perceptive and sly in her emotional restraint.”
Evening Standard (London)

Thomas Mallon
…with the reissue of four short works of Nemirovsky's early fiction—including David Golder, which made her reputation, at 26, when it appeared in 1929—present-day readers have the chance to gain a fuller sense of this writer's considerable power and youthful weaknesses…Claire Messud's graceful introduction supplements the chance this collection provides to see Nemirovsky's career at least somewhat removed from the disaster that engulfed her. These short fictions may often be punctuated with the rhetorical shrugs of Russian fatalism, but this is really just a tic of self-indulgence the young Nemirovsky gives to her creations. What interests her most in characters like Golder and Courilof is tenacity, a desire for survival she can appreciate, as yet, only instinctively.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Through the 1920s and '30s Russian-Jewish émigré Némirovsky, author of the recently rediscovered and internationally bestselling Suite Française, was a popular and critically acclaimed novelist in her adopted France. These four short early novels reveal her clear-eyed view into the deeply compromised human heart. David Golder, her third novel and the only one in the volume previously available in English, is saturated with the despairing mood of its title character, an embittered Jewish business- and family man in ill health, left after the suicide of his bankrupt partner to question the value of the great petroleum fortune he has amassed. The Courilof Affairis narrated by Léon M., a dying Russian revolutionary: he recounts his relationship with Valerian Courilof, the minister of education in imperial Russia. Léon grew to like the decrepit, politically ruined Courilof, even as he was ordered to kill him. The Ballis a psychologically acute account of the relationship between a narcissistic French mother-married to her former boss, a rich German Jew-and their enraged adolescent daughter, Antoinette; the similarly brief Snow in Autumnis a tender portrait of an old, devoted Russian nanny who cannot adjust to life as an émigré in Paris. These four early works by Némirovsky reveal her impressive range, bitingly exact settings and insight into profoundly flawed and compromised characters. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.29(h) x 1.08(d)

Meet the Author

Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903 into a wealthy banking family and emigrated to France during the Russian Revolution. After attending the Sorbonne in Paris she began to write and swiftly achieved success with DAVID GOLDER, which was followed by more than a dozen other books. Throughout her lifetime she published widely in French newspapers and literary journals. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. More than sixty years later, Suite Française, was published posthumously, for the first time, in 2006.

Claire Messud is the award-winning author of four works of fiction: When the World Was Steady, The Hunters, The Last Life, and, most recently, The Emperor’s Children.

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David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Irene Nemirovsky is amazing, and this is a great copy of four of her novellas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
the book is very good,would highly recommended that everyone should read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RichardSpear More than 1 year ago
It is hard to fathom that David Golder, which established Irene Nemirovsky's reputation when it was published in Paris in 1929, is by the author of Suite Francaise, Nemirovsky's novel about the Nazi's invasion and occupation of France in 1940-41. Suite Francaise brilliantly scrutinizes complex human behavior amidst different levels of society, nationalities, and ages; by comparison, David Golder is insistently shallow because of its mono-dimensional characters. If the painful story of Suite Francaise, which Nemirovsky began in 1940 while the events it relates were unfolding, makes the author's death at Auschwitz in 1942 (aged 39) appear all the more tragic, the tone of David Golder suggests a wholly different reading of Nemirovsky's death as that ironic twist of fate known as poetic justice. That is a harsh judgment, but so is the harsh anti-Semitism that pervades David Golder. All of its characters are paper-thin caricatures of unscrupulous, money-grubbing Jews and its plot is no more subtle: a relentless account of a rich broker's Yiddish greed, and its consequences on those he had ruthlessly trampled. Repeatedly, Nemirovsky introduces her Jews with unmistakable markers of racial disparagement: they have hooked noses; they are dirty; they are sweaty; Golder's tightfisted Jewish friend Soifer "rubbed his trembling hands together in an expression of sheer delight as he reeled off. the names of the ruined shareholders" he destroyed. An unflagging litany of derision permeates this and other early books by Nemirovsky, whose language aims to belittle Jews: just as she labels the youth with Golder while he dies "the little Jew," so in The Ball (1930) Alfred Kampf is "a dry little Jew;" in The Courilof Affair (1933) an anonymous American journalist is "a rosy-cheeked little Jew" and Fanny Zart's uncle is a "little Jewish banker with his fat stomach." Apologists for Nemirovsky, a Russian Jew who led a privileged life in a banker's family in Kiev and Paris, stress that she told 'Les Nouvelles Litteraires' she "would have greatly toned down" David Golder after Hitler's ascent to power -- as if her scathing portraits of Jews was acceptable in the 1920s, and as if it didn't matter that her book was rich fodder for the Nazis and French Jew haters. Her apologists also aim to justify Nemirovsky's Yids as claiming they are presented as pathetic products of their repressive culture, overlooking evidence to the contrary. Consider how Nemirovsky frames Golder's response when he is accused of wasting his own life on making money and of ruining the lives of others through his devious dealings: "I have always done what I wanted to do on this earth." Astonishingly, Sandra Smith, Nemirovsky's skillful translator who must be too close to her subject to see the proverbial forest, reportedly declared, "I'm Jewish and I don't find [David Golder] anti-Semitic." Step back from the trees, Ms. Smith and your co-apologists, and you might see Nemirovsky more clearly: as an author affiliated with right-wing, anti-Semitic journals in Paris, and as an assimilationist convert to Catholicism who wrote to the head of the Vichy government, Marshall Petain, that although she was Jewish by birth, she deserved special status because she disliked Jews. She might have enclosed David Golder to prove her point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago