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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intense Affair
'The Misunderstanding' is the latest of Irene Nemirovsky's work to be skilfully and sensitively translated by Sandra Smith, but this novel is actually Nemirovsky's first book, which was written when she was aged just twenty one, and first published two years later in 1926.

One of the two central characters in this story is Yves Harteloupe, a young man whose...
Published 22 months ago by Susie B

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tortured love story
Yves Harteloupe is a young man who, before the First World War, had been brought up as one of those fin de siècle wealthy fastidious flâneurs with exquisite taste. Then came the War. He survived the horror of the trenches, but his inherited wealth had disappeared, and he had to find modestly paid office work in an international news agency, a job he hated. He...
Published 10 months ago by Ralph Blumenau


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intense Affair, 7 Sep 2012
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Hardcover)
'The Misunderstanding' is the latest of Irene Nemirovsky's work to be skilfully and sensitively translated by Sandra Smith, but this novel is actually Nemirovsky's first book, which was written when she was aged just twenty one, and first published two years later in 1926.

One of the two central characters in this story is Yves Harteloupe, a young man whose family fortune has been lost, and a man who has been deeply affected by the Great War and by the terrible experiences he endured in the trenches. In the attempt to recapture happier moments from his past, Yves returns to the resort of Hendaye, in the Basque Region, where he remembers spending wonderful family holidays as a child. At Hendaye, Yves meets the beautiful, but bored, Denise Jessaint, a young mother who is married to a rich businessman who is frequently away on business. Yves finds Denise very attractive and tries to spend as much time as he can in her company and, before long, he becomes infatuated with her. Caught up in the intensity of the hot, late summer days and by Yves' infatuation with her, Denise finds herself falling passionately in love; but this is no summer romance and neither Yves nor Denise have any intention of saying goodbye to each other at the end of the holiday.

When Yves and Denise return to a subdued autumnal Paris, they make plans to continue their clandestine affair - but their relationship has its difficulties, especially as Denise cannot seem to understand that the significant difference in their financial positions has the potential to cause an unbridgeable gap between them. When a mutual misunderstanding occurs, and their fledgling relationship shows signs of falling apart, Denise confides in her sophisticated mother and decides to take her advice - but has Denise misunderstood that advice and, if she acts on it, will she live to regret her actions?

This is a beautifully written and lyrical novel with strikingly drawn main characters - but it is a very short one, so I shall say nothing further about the story. However, I will say that this book, like other novels by Nemirovsky, is permeated by war and its after effects and, in her writing, the author clearly demonstrates her awareness of the psychological consequences of war on the individuals involved. Therefore, although Nemirovsky was very young when she wrote this book, and this story does have a youthfully intense and romantic feel, her writing shows a perceptive insight which belies her young years. I was pulled into this story immediately and read it in one enjoyable sitting and, although this short novel may not be quite as accomplished as Nemirovsky's later works, it is an engaging and emotionally rich story and one I shall be keeping on my bookshelves to be re-read and re-enjoyed at a later date.

4 Stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Misunderstanding-Irene Memirovsky, 22 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Hardcover)
I have now read all of Nemirovsky's novels translated into English by the excellent Sandra Smith. Also the biography by Philipponnnat and Lienhardt-very informative. This latest novel is an excellent read with wonderful characters and sensitively portrayed incidents. A very rewarding novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tortured love story, 17 Sep 2013
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Kindle Edition)
Yves Harteloupe is a young man who, before the First World War, had been brought up as one of those fin de siècle wealthy fastidious flâneurs with exquisite taste. Then came the War. He survived the horror of the trenches, but his inherited wealth had disappeared, and he had to find modestly paid office work in an international news agency, a job he hated. He found his greatest moments of happiness when he recalled his happy childhood at the seaside in Hendaye, and the novel opens as revisits this place in 1924.

There, on the beach, he glimpses a young woman whose beauty is wonderfully described by Némirovsky. She is staying at the same hotel, and he finds that she is married to Jacques Jessaint, who had been to the same military hospital as Yves during the war and who was now an engineer who had made a huge fortune with one of his inventions. Jacques has to leave for a prolonged visit to London the next day, leaving Denise and their little daughter Francette at the hotel. Yves and Denise saw and talked to each other for several days without Yves feeling that he was in love with her - until one day Denise was inexplicably absent, and then he suddenly felt desperately bereft. Her return that evening changed the chemistry between them. A love affaire begins, which continues in Paris when the holidays are over.

But it is a tortured one. Though they love each other, their psychologies are too different from them to be happy with each other. Yves cannot see her as often as Denise would like, and something prevents him from saying how much he loves her; so she suffers agonies of uncertainty. It does not help that, for her, money is no object, whereas he feels forced to spend beyond his means, and is too proud to tell her of the money problems which weigh him down all the time. Separately, they each take desperate steps.

Némirovsky wrote this short novel of 160 pages when she was just 21 years old. The Hendaye chapters are a miracle of psychological understanding from one so young, and her descriptions of the setting are quite beautiful. I found the feverish Paris section, though it held my attention, less convincing and less appealing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 21 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Kindle Edition)
her words flow so poetically, so artful. the story is simple but smacks you with its complexity. the end is poignant but horrific. amazing book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, 23 April 2014
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Paperback)
This was Irene Nemirovsky's first book and where not the classic Suite Francaise nevertheless it is a precocious charming debut
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 18 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Paperback)
Enjoyed reading this book - amazing that such a young author could have such insight into human affairs of the heart. The fate of the author in later years adds to the books mystique.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange little love story, 23 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Misunderstanding (Hardcover)
This is an unconvincing love story, and it doesn't surprise me that the author was only 21 when she wrote it. However, I was surprised, knowing nothing of Nemirovsky before reading this, that it was written in the 1920s. The feel of the novel is quite modern. Perhaps this is because of the translator. There are a few errors or typos in the translation (e.g. insects "files" instead of flies, and when the heroine sits on her infant daughter's lap instead of vice versa). Perhaps given her youth, the author's handling of a love affair is at times unconvincing, but her approach to the different lives of the rich Denise and the newly poor Yves is effective and affecting. Overall this is an enjoyable, well written book and very evocative of romantic post-war Paris. If I could give half stars, this would be a 3 and a half.
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The Misunderstanding
The Misunderstanding by Irène Némirovsky
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