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Le Bal [Paperback]

Irene Nemirovsky , Sandra Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: Ł7.99
Price: Ł6.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over Ł10. Details
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Book Description

4 Oct 2007

Le Bal is a sharp, brittle story of a girl who sets out to ruin the mother she hates. The Kampfs have risen swiftly up the ranks of 1930s Parisian society. Painfully aware of her working-class roots, and desperate to win acceptance, Madame Kampf decides to throw a huge ball to announce her arrival to society. Her daughter Antoinette, who has just turned fourteen, dreams of attending, but Madame Kampf is resolved not to present her daughter to potential admirers. In a fury of adolescent rage and despair, Antoinette exacts a swift and horrible revenge...

Snow in Autumn pays homage to Némirovsky's beloved Chekhov and chronicles the life of a devoted servant following her masters as they flee Revolutionary Moscow and emigrate to a life of hardship in Paris. As the crisis pushes the family to the brink of dissolution, Tatiana struggles to adapt to life in Paris and waits in vain for her cherished first snow of autumn.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 106 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (4 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099493977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099493976
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"With its cool, understated prose and sharp psychological accuracy, this is perfect for a train journey... A reminder of what good writing can achieve in a very few words" (The Times)

"A cruel, sophisticated tale making the terrible beautiful without diminishing for one moment the horrors of displacement and war" (Guardian)

"A genuine artist" (Julian Barnes)

"This book is a masterpiece" (Sunday Express)

"It is quite outstanding, full of beauty, pain and truth... We are lucky to have this book" (Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

Two lost masterpieces of French literature gathered together in one volume for the first time.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nemirovsky' s debut shows a very talented writer 20 Aug 2008
This was one of Nemirovsky's first works. It was written in 1928, the year before the Wall Street crac, but published in 1930, after David Golder. It tells the story of a French nouveau riche family, the Kampfs. He is a Jewish businessman who has suddenly strike rich on currency speculation; on marrying her unbearable catholic wife he converted to catholicism (there is some stereotyping here for those willing to look at it, though it's not as on-your-face as in Golder). They decide to give a ball in order to presents themselves into high society. Her fourteen years old daughter, the vivacious but lonely Antoinette is told she will not be allowed to the ball, so while sending the invitations she suddenly plans a cruel revenge on her parents (and especially her mother). A great book, especially observant at the feelings of a wounded teenager, and at less than 90 pages, between a short story and a novella.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another jem from Nemorovsky 25 May 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This edition has two short stories,La Bal and Autumn in the snow.Both are auto biographical.The first is the story of the tyranical and vain mother who treats her child as a constant irritation and only speaks in a blunt cruel way to her.The child's father has struck it lucky and their new wealth makes the parents long for acceptance into the upper social circles.In their wealth the child becomes an unwanted irrelevance.However the child fights backs against all the cruelty.
The second book Snow in Autumn,is again from her personal experience.Namely the emptiness and difficulties of being forced from your homeland,Russia, and having to adjust to an alien culture,France.It is a tale of sad longing for times gone past.There is a,sad, lyrical quality to the writing.You get the perspective of the Russian revolution from the wealthy persons point of view.
l dislike the short story genre,but both stories are wonderful.Full of insight,longing and dealing with the harsh brutal truth.
Irene Nemorovsky is a brilliant writer,and how very sad she perished at Austwitz.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous writing which is enthralling 17 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book contains 2 short stories - about 50 pages each.
Le Bal is a comment on Parisian society through the eyes of a teenager whose parents have recently come into money.
Antionette talks about their imminent ball with an innocence about the society in which her parents mix. There is a sense of the fragilities in the social scene made worse by the insincerities of the people involved. A strong feeling of how difficult it is to establish yourself comes across and valuable lessons are learnt by Antionette.
Snow in Autumn combines a nostalgia with an apprenhension of the future as parents see their sons off to war in an unpredictable time for Russia
Both stories are well written. Characters are explored in depth and the plots deal with a small part of a much larger story. The reader is left wanting more, although there is no feeling of be infinished like many short stories.
Also worth noting is how well these stories work together, showing contrasts of resilience, courage and adaptability. Both families have moved to different worlds and are dealing with their changes in fortune in very different ways.
This author writes in a very visual way, everything mentioned is described in a way that gives a picture which can be seen in the mind - colours, textures, weather, seasons, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Irene Nemirowski at her brooding best 15 Jan 2010
I have read them all now, at least all those that have been published before her death and the one published after her death. Irene is at her brooding best in every single one of them, not sparing in her observtions about her French hosts or her own Jewish people.

Having visited her home town Kiev I took pleasure in finding it described before the II WW. Hard to imagine the Jewish quarter as it was then, when visiting the modern town today.

A life much too short. What a talent wasted.
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