The Wine of Solitude Paperback – 6 Sep 2012
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A wonderfully atmospheric novel...captivating and searingly honest... A brilliant coming of age novel" (Helen Dunmore Guardian, Books of the Year)
"Haunting...profound...exquisitely wrought" (Independent on Sunday)
"The tangle of this unhappy family is beautifully and ruthlessly analysed... The relationship between mother and daughter is described with uncompromising lucidity... Némirovsky evokes the places of her childhood with a sensuous clarity" (Guardian)
"The Wine of Solitude is an end-of-innocence story... It is Némirovsky's powers of social observation...the implacable eye for the nuances of human conduct, that make The Wine of Solitude so memorable" (Financial Times)
"Beautifully written... Her ability to evoke the feeling of time and especially place is remarkable" (Scotsman)
From the author of Suite Française comes a powerful novel of family, war and the end of innocenceSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Her mother is vain, shallow, and dissatisfied with life as a wife and mother in Russia. Easily bored, she peruses the latest fashion magazines from Paris and dreams of the excitement, danger, and the lovers she would take if only she could live in Paris. Hélène detests her mother, with her marble skin and claw-like nails, so it is not surprising that she relies on her French governess, Mademoiselle Rose, for the love and companionship her family fails to provide.
As the years pass and she grows up, she is able to observe her mother's behaviour from a dispassionate distance. She notes the sagging flesh, the lines and wrinkles, and relishes the realisation that she can at last effect revenge and make her mother suffer as she herself has suffered.
Beautifully translated, the book is almost worth reading for the descriptions alone. You feel as if you know Kiev, even if you've never been to Russia, and St Petersburg, where `soft, damp snow falls from a yellowish sky and is whipped away by a furious wind', and the `sickly odour of filthy water' rises from the Neva.... `A thick fog wafted through the air like smoke.Read more ›
The story begins a few years before the Great War, in Kiev, where a young Helene Karol lives with her parents and grandparents. Helene is devoted to her Jewish father, Boris, but has a volatile and difficult relationship with Bella, her mother. Bella married Boris to improve her financial situation and Helene feels a great resentment towards her mother who continually quarrels with her husband and is often unfaithful to him. As Helene is neglected by her mother, she builds a close and loving relationship with her governess and, as time passes, she comes to regard Bella with increasing dislike - "She nurtured in her heart a strange hatred of her that seemed to increase as she grew older...". Helene's dislike for her mother increases further when Bella starts a love affair with Max who is fifteen years her junior. Boris turns a blind eye to the affair and concentrates on his business, but his obsession with improving the company's profits means he has very little time for Helene, and this coupled with Bella's indifference towards her daughter, only increases Helene's isolation and resentment as she grows up.
However, there are more important issues at hand, when the October Revolution starts the family flee to Finland and then to France where Helene, now a young woman, begins to think of her romantic future.Read more ›
I feel in awe of by these double figure novels, written in perhaps ten years before such a wicked wasteful end. Prolific, driven, focused; Irene Nemirovsky worked away at her craft until she literally ran out of ink, spending her last days in Auschwitz, dying there in 1942, all the while her husband obsessively writing to the authorities pleading for her release. This drawing of attention to himself ensured that he too was captured and killed in Auschwitz soon after his wife. Now translated into 38 different languages, she clearly has universal appeal. Seeing `The Estate of Irene Nemirovsky' written at the beginning makes her fate all the more poignant and somehow brings her back to life.
Her daughters' more recent discovery of `Suite Francaise' six years ago, allowed us all a chance to read that great and memorable novel. Perhaps `The Wine of Solitude', first published in 1935, has been considered to be semi- autobiographical, and it all rings true. Sensitively translated again by Sandra Smith, in 2011, a supremely skilled interpreter of the Ukrainian Jewish French speaking but Slavic born Irene Nemirovsky. There is no sign of a language barrier; all is elegantly smooth and flowing. I enjoyed listening to Sandra Smith talking about Irene on you tube.
This book really richly rewards re reading. On the first pass you may be just sticking to sorting out the shape of the story, then secondly truly savouring the superb descriptive passages.
Hidden, well-placed clues also will emerge from the text. For example, the first time Max is mentioned, as a boy visiting with his mother Lydia Safronov. Another is the side story of French Mademoiselle Rose, Helene/ Lili's companion, nurse, nanny, and governess.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Had to read as part of a book club choice but didn't enjo at all. The story doesn't go anywhere. ...don't botherPublished 8 months ago by C.Merchant-Bucks
This precisely observed novel is so obviously semi-autobiographical (down to her heroine's date of birth) that one wonders how Nemirovsky managed to write such a measured and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by KaleHawkwood
A miserable story about the relationship a very selfish woman and her adoring but exceedingly dim husband have with their one daughter. Goes on for ever and gets nowhere. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Valjean
Nemirovsky's most autobiographical work, starting with the central character - Helene - as a child. Her father loves her but is far more interested in gambling, while her mother... Read morePublished 12 months ago by sally tarbox