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The Dogs and the Wolves Paperback – 7 Oct 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (7 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099507781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099507789
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Written with tremendous assurance and finesse, The Dogs and the Wolves is an outstanding achievement of European fiction" (Sunday Times)

"The pleasure of this fine novel lies in its depiction of a doomed love affair... Némirovsky's exquisite descriptions of character reveal a brilliantly sharp eye" (Daily Telegraph)

"Nemirovsky was incapable of producing anything less than an enchanting novel. She has an irresistible talent for creating character and incident which makes this story as much a page-turner as anything she has written" (Carmen Callil Guardian)

"Nemirovksy is a deeply engaged observer of her characters, and her depiction of the inner lives of both Jews and Gentiles in Sandra Smith's admirable translation of this exquisitely detailed novel, has the fine, authentic ring of artistic truth" (Sunday Telegraph)

"She elegantly uses traditional orchestration, which makes her works, for all their weighty concerns, universally accessible and stirringly romantic" (Independent)

Book Description

A wonderful, panoramic novel and an achingly poignant love story from the bestselling author of Suite Française.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Another fast-paced novel with great characters and psychological insight. This novel traces two sides of a Jewish family, one poor (the wolves), the other very rich (the dogs) as they move from the Ukraine at the turn of the 20th Century to Paris. Set against the backdrop of a love story, this book explores the complex relationships between Jews and Catholics, Jews and other Jews, and the French and immigrants. A great read and insight into the plight of foreigners in France in the 1920s and 30s. Beautifully written and it doesn't hammer home the ideas, just presents realistic characters in a subtle, sensitive way that makes you care about them.
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Nemirovsky was a great Jewish writer, well known for her deep humanity, her profound knowledge of the human heart and her ability, through her novels, to show how the forces of history, of custom and class, of warfare in the twentieth century, shape and break individuals, couples, families, whole communities. This book is no exception, though it doesn't have quite the intensity of feeling or the fully developed characters of the best of her work and feels at times too pared to do full justice to its material.

At the heart of it is Ada, a young painter who, as a poor Jewish child in Kiev, with her cousin Ben, take refuge one day in the house of their rich relations; there, she encounters the boy, Harry, who, though embarrassed by her then, will come to be the love of her life. Because of pogroms, they all move to settle in Paris. Time moves on, Ada lives on her own, becoming a successful minor painter, dreaming of Harry. He, meanwhile, heir to a banking dynasty, has married Laurence and they have a son, but deep down he's not happy. He finds himself drawn to two paintings of Ada's in a bookshop, and by this means comes back into her life. A love triangle is formed in which two kinds of love are contrasted: the domestic, the kindly, the convenient one with his wife, the elemental, passionate one with Ada. Time moves on, and the fragile triangle is shattered by the prospect of a banking crisis which would ruin Harry's life forever. Ada alone, by making a supreme sacrifice, can save him... The last chapter has her deported to an East European country where she gives birth to her son, surrounded by loving neighbours, her unselfish love rewarded with a new kind of happiness and a sense of a new future opening up, albeit without Harry.
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Format: Hardcover
Nemirovsky centres her novel around the artistically talented Ada Sinner, a child from a poor Jewish family in the Ukraine who, when the story opens in the early twentieth century, seems to have few opportunities before her in life. But these are turbulent times and, with war and revolution about to turn everyone's lives upside down, the future is unpredictable. Terrorised by the, as yet, unfettered Cossacks at home, the Sinner family manage to get their children out and taken to a new life in Paris where, with a little luck, Ada will have the opportunity to develop her talents.

This is a fairly blunt statement by Nemirovsky of pre-first world war society where money determines your place in the social hierarchy for Jew and non-Jew alike. Nemirovsky first imprints the stereotype in the Jewish society in the Ukraine; the protective, moneyed establishment already in their fine houses, where money now accummulates for little extra effort; the striving middle class desperately trying to join the establishment, and for whom doing a deal and getting one over on your competitor is all that counts; the poor working class, where artisan skills are the best hope of eking out an existence and escaping the ghetto. Then, when the scene moves to Paris, French society seems little different and, to make matters yet more difficult, is unwelcoming to poor Jewish exiles.

I found Nemirovsky less passionately involved with this novel, more clinical in her observation, more prepared in a way to simply report and not analyse or comment, an exercise in writing just to keep the juices flowing. Some passages just involving the children are too formal, naive and disengaging, whereas the exchanges between adults display a knowing insight into what lies beneath the veneer of society. It is a good read, just not quite her best.
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Format: Hardcover
Although I would not rate it as high as Suite Francaise, this book is still an outstanding achievement describing inner life with finesse just like Ada Sinner paints her characters with enormous understanding of their personalities. Reminds me of the End of the Affair where Sarah Miles says "Love doesn't end, just because we don't see each other"
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
HAVING READ NEMIROVSKY'S OTHER PUBLISHED BOOK, I FOUND THIS EVOCATION OF THE JEWISH HISTORY AND THE DIVISIONS AND DIFFERENCES WITHIN THEIR RACE (NATURAL BUT OFTEN NOT CONSIDERED UNDER BLANKET CONDEMNATION/ADMIRATION), PLUS THE PAINFUL TRUTHS IN HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS/AMBITIONS/ACHIEVEMENTS, A REALLY THOUGHT PROVOKING ACCOUNT. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
According to the translator of this book, the title alludes to a French saying about how it is difficult to tell the difference between dogs and wolves at dusk. I think that particularly point illustrates this book perfectly; the theme of the book and the relationships in it. The differences between poor Jewish people and rich Jewish people, the differences between rich French people and rich Russian people, sometimes they're not so different, sometimes they're very different and sometimes it's very hard to tell any difference. Nemirovsky does this in language which is very easy to read and although at first glance this may seem like a love story, there's far more to it. So who are the dogs and who are the wolves, that all depends on your viewpoint, read it and decide for yourself.
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