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Four Novels [Hardcover]

Claire Messud , Irene Nemirovsky

Price: CDN$ 24.02 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Sept. 11 2008
Readers everywhere were introduced to the work of Irene Nemirovsky through the publication of her long-lost masterpiece, "Suite Francaise". But "Suite Francaise" was only a coda to the brief yet remarkably prolific career of this nearly forgotten, yet hugely talented novelist, who fled Russia for Paris after the Revolution and died at Auschwitz at the age of 39. Here in one volume are four of Nemirovsky'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 book that established Nemirovsky's reputation in France in 1929 when she was twenty-six. It is a novel about greed and loneliness, the story of an ageing Russian Jewish businessman, an exile in France, learning to confront death and the knowledge that wealth has not brought him happiness. "The Ball" is both a sensitive exploration of adolescence and a merciless exposure of bourgeois social pretension. "Snow in Autumn" is an evocative tale of White Russian emigres in Paris, while in "The Courilof Affair" a retired Russian revolutionary recalls an infamous assassination committed in his youth. This volume is introduced by novelist Claire Messud.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library (Sept. 11 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841593087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841593081
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 20.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #843,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

In 2006 English readers worldwide were introduced to Irène Némirovsky's rediscovered masterpiece, Suite Française, which topped just about every "best of" list that year, including our own. Thanks to the editors of the Everyman's Library 20th-Century Classics series, a second wave of the prolific author's writing has just hit our shores. In a single volume, readers can find four of Nemirovsky's gem-like early novellas--David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair--with all the trimmings: a shrewd introduction by Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children) and a detailed chronology of the author's life and times. These first novellas demonstrate Némirovsky's genius for exposing an individual's virtues and flaws, much like a jeweler examining a diamond under a loupe. Potentially one-dimensional characters such as a greedy businessman or a spiteful teenager emerge from these stories as multi-faceted figures whose questionable beliefs and actions compel us to re-examine our own. Don't miss these short, but potent tales. --Lauren Nemroff --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From 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 Affair is 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 Ball is 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 Autumn is 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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Reading Feb. 28 2008
By Ink - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are many reasons for loving a book ... of course content, the manner in which the author has painted a picture for the reader, a love for the time period in which a story is set, perhaps a specific character - heaven knows - I have fallen in love with a protagonist in my younger days. With this book, aside from all the talent that the words spread on the pages, I love the book.

The paper is heavy weight - not glossy - not harsh. The ribbon bookmark reminds me of days when books were made this way ... I enjoyed reading this book because of the quality of the construction .... now on to the inside.

Nemirovsky has a way of developing the ghosts of one's past. Regardless of how well her characters do in life there seem to be parts of their beginnings that they cannot shed ... a genetic tattoo, a social ingraining that continues to come through regardless of how they change over the years.

I felt the pain of David Golder; I wanted to throw Mrs. Kampf to the dogs and delighted in the vision of little pieces of paper floating down the river; I could feel the heat of the wood burning stove and the cold of the chilling Russian wind in Snow in Autumn. Brilliantly written in simple language, if you are looking for paperback literature - this is NOT the book to read.

I am hypnotized by Nemirovsky's work and hope that you are too!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure and abrasive May 27 2008
By Isabelle M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You get immersed right away into Nemirovskys' world. Right away with "The Ball" you get the discomfort rapport the mother and daughter have. "The Ball" is an absolute terrible tale and well rendered. Opening sentences are crucial, with "David Golder" you want to know what happens to this fellow, he is firm and refuses yet has remorse and is weak at the same time he manipulates and is manipulated. Once you let go the story about the author, we all know Irenes' terrible fate how she perished in the concentration camps, you are able to isolate and focus on her ability to write, she was not just an author, yes she published, she was a writer with a capital W. Words seem to land perfectly. A few sentences are absolutely beautiful. I stop and read again, several times over and over the same sentence to decorticate and learn to read again. How she describes lovers in bed, the intertwined legs and bodies, their shadow shown on the ceiling reveals the image of a bouquet of flowers. There is more, four short stories in this volume, but much more in her complete oeuvre, I urge any curious and avid prose lover to read and discover Irène Némirovsky.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Golder and Couriloff" seal this volume May 10 2008
By Kenneth A. Pfeifer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
While not as consistently good as "Suite Francais," this volume has as its best selections David Golder and The Courilof Affair. "Golder" is intriguing in that it was used by her husband in an attempt to free her from the concentration camp. An unflattering portrait of its title character, it begins with a scene that reminded me of the opening of "Citizen Cane." The closing story will please those fond of Kafka. It is rife with issues of ethics and government. The Everyman edition is also a very handsome volume.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh insights into psychological aspects of people May 6 2008
By Fran W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have almost finished this book and so far it is quite a compelling, interesting,with unusually fresh and insightful glimpses into many psychological facets of the characters portrayed. Her insight and portrayal of their psyche's is one that will be forever memorable to me. I particularly liked The Ball. I can readily see a teenage girl feeling and wanting to act the way that Antoinette did to avenge her mother's cruel treatment of her. The Snow In Autumn evokes feelings of sad longing for home and the past for a refugee.All in all, a remarkable and unforgettable book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Rediscovery March 6 2009
By RCM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Irene Nemirovsky became a well-known author in the United States in 2006 with the posthumous publication of her novel "Suite Francaise," the last work she wrote before her untimely death in Auschwitz. The publication of the first two parts of "Suite Francaise" showcased a remarkable talent from a writer capable of capturing human nature in its most complex and conflicted forms. Yet while Nemirovsky may be a new name in today's publishing world, she was a recognized author in her day. Everyman's Library has published a collection of four short works into one volume, a brilliant testament of the talent and far-reaching scope Nemirovsky masterfully handled as an author.

"David Golder" was the novel that first established Nemirovsky's reputation in France when it was published in 1929. It is the tale of a wealthy old Jewish man, who, now that he is nearing the end of his life, is coming to terms with the greed of the world around him. He begins to realize that for all his wealth, he has always had to work to maintain a standard of living for his wife and daughter and those they entertain. Yet it has never made him happy. Before he dies, David Golder must examine his life and see if he has time to change course and fix the things he's done wrong.

Following "David Golder" are two short novellas, "The Ball" and "Snow in Autumn." "The Ball" is a quick paced gem of a story about the nouveau riche, a married couple who have raised themselves in society, but have not fully forgotten where they have come from. The mother is beastly towards her fourteen-year-old daughter and her servants, all as a means to show how far they have climbed in social stature. The mother wants to throw a ball to prove that they belong in society, but some unexpected and all too fitting events play out to put this family in its place. "Snow in Autumn" is about a wealthy Russian family forced to flee to France during the revolution, learning how to start over from nothing in a new world. It is told through the perspective of the children's nanny, who is unable to adapt to the new country and its strange weather. "Snow in Autumn" is a plaintive and sad story, its ending elegant and miserable at the same time.

The collection is capped off with "The Courilof Affair." This is another story of the Russian revolution, but told throw the eyes of a young revolutionary who has been trained to assassinate the Minister of Education. Masquerading as a doctor, the young assassin soon learns that everything is not cut and dried between who is good or bad and what is right or wrong. "The Courilof Affair" reads a bit like an espionage novel, and although its ending seems a bit rushed, it is an intriguing look at what people will do to fight for what they believe in.

The short novels collected in this edition are disparate stories, yet Nemirovsky deftly handled each as only a truly great writer could. It is a shame such a wonderful talent was destroyed, but Irene Nemirovsky's works still exist and are being rediscovered by a new generation. Besides the beauty of her words, the remarkable thing about Nemirovsky's works is their ability to speak to life in this present day. That is the mark of a master writer.

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