Jezebel Paperback – 1 Jul 2010
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"Irène Némirovsky is the literary discovery of the decade" (Sunday Times)
"Slender, but engrossing, novel... Némirovsky's subtle twist and typically jewelled prose presents the glittering enormity of Gladys, an unsympathetic but vividly realised character who dominates this tale in a fascinating portrait of paranoid self-absorption" (Financial Times)
"Nemirovsky's tale of a woman on trial for shooting her young lover rings more contemporary bells than we might think at first" (Lesley McDowell The Independent on Sunday)
"Fast-paced and highly dramatic, it offers a fascinating glimpse into an inter-war world of privilege, wealth and Darwinian social combat" (Simon Shaw New Statesman)
A dramatic tale of murder and passion in 1930s France from the author of David Golder and Suite Française.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
To be honest I couldn't put this book down, it immediately captivated and held me from the very beginning and is sure to be a success. Our story opens with Gladys Eysenach on trial for the murder of her younger lover. With the trial concluded we are then taken on a trip back into different periods of time, where we learn more about Gladys, what she was like and how vain she is. With the current plethora of adverts offering men as well as women the chance to stay looking 'young' this book is very modern and will bound to be on many a reading groups list. Gladys herself just wants to be loved as an attractive woman and can't abide aging and losing her looks, but in her case she is prepared to go to extreme measures to keep hidden her real age. As the story progresses you go from feeling sorry for Gladys, to eventually reviling her, as more and more becomes apparent about her vanity and selfishness, and why she really committed murder. Sandra Smith who translated this is also provides a short introduction where you can see that this book in some ways mirrors Irene Nemirovsky's relationship with her own mother.
All in all this is a fantastic book that you will be bound to come back to time and time again.
I'm not going to tell you whether Gladys is guilty or not, despite the fact that you actually find out her plea and indeed her verdict within the first few pages, because it might still take something away from the book. I was slightly baffled that you knew so much so early on, only Irène Némirovsky has great plans for the reader, you much first see where we find Gladys and then you must go on the journey from her childhood and through society, marriages, liaisons and tragedy (the book has an intense charge throughout) to get to the event that found her in this courtroom. It is through this that Irène Némirovsky creates a tale about a woman obsessed with the days of her youth and how as time goes by age creeps upon her and for someone like Gladys Eysenach this is the cruellest thing imaginable.
What is sometimes wonderful about going to a book that sounds intriguing and yet you have low expectations of (especially if you didn't like the first book you read of theirs) is that when you then really enjoy it it's almost all the more enjoyable. This was the case for me with `Jezebel'. I read it in two sittings and the mixture of the murder and how I was sure it couldn't just be as clear a crime as Irène Némirovsky originally makes it look and the tale of a woman's rise through beauty and old ages betrayal of that was a fascinating read and one that I would highly recommend.
This is an engrossing story, but is quite a short one, so I shall be careful not to reveal too much and spoil the story for prospective readers. However, I will say that the beautiful Gladys is not a character that naturally evokes the reader's admiration or sympathy for she is totally self-obsessed: "Everyone who looked at her confirmed her beauty, her power. So many men had been in love with her. 'That was all I cared about' she thought. 'All I ever really loved was their desire, their submission, their madness, my power and my pleasure..." and with lines such as these, it seems clear that Nemirovsky did not intend the reader to be filled with sympathy for her character.
It's believed that Nemirovsky used the difficult relationship between herself and her own mother as a basis for this story (as she also did in the excellent recently republished The Wine of Solitude) and, if this is true, it partly explains why her writing is so convincing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Taken in the context of the time in which it was written, a very brave novel. A very enjoyable read.Published 13 hours ago by herberus
Wery good read get me hooked from first page and make me to reflect on my own life.Published 15 months ago by Elzbieta P.
This is a marvellous book by a forgotten and much under rated author. Her talent for such a young woman is prodigious.Published on 10 Aug. 2013 by irene orr
This French novel from the mid-1930s [newly translated in 2010] is one of the author's attempts to deal in writing with her horrible mother. Read morePublished on 16 Jan. 2012 by Alfred J. Kwak
I was hoping for something great as the premise was promising but for me this book never got off the ground. Read morePublished on 1 Feb. 2011 by Ms. K. Thomas
I enjoyed this very much, the writing style is lovely, although I read the English translation and not the original French. Read morePublished on 17 Oct. 2010 by ElenaJ