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on 20 August 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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on 25 May 2009
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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VINE VOICEon 17 September 2011
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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on 15 January 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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on 16 July 2015
This acidic but amusing revenge story targets the ‘nouveau riches’ in 1926 Paris and is deeply autobiographic. The newly rich were often speculators in stocks and other valuables yearning for recognition and respect from and co-optation into the haute bourgeoisie, despite often murky origins and other educational and cultural deficits. Key aspirations of their wives included great luxury, plenty of spending money, sumptuous holidays, jewelry, living at a top location, status and respect.
Antoinette (14) is the daughter of such a parvenu couple whose female half wants even more of everything: more money, a gigolo and most of all recognition, becoming part of French high society. To further her ambition, she organizes a glittering ball for 200 guests, with an orchestra, the best food and drink money can buy, a sea of plants and flower arrangements and numerous temporary servants. Precocious Antoinette also longs for an adventure of the male kind and immerses herself in plenty of daydreaming in the weeks and days ahead. But her parents forbid her sternly to attend the party. At nine they send her to bed in an improvised bedroom deep inside the mansion where no sound can be heard from the party scheduled to begin at ten. Antoinette resents being treated as a child and seeks revenge…
Irène Némirovsky was a superbly-gifted writer and her early death in Auschwitz is a loss for humanity. This is a very early work, written while writing her debut “David Golder”. Thematically, re her mother’s fear of aging, her later book “Jezebel” is a companion volume to this novella. Both are great subject matter for reading clubs.
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on 17 June 2015
This is another enchanting book by this author. The early pages bring about a laugh out loud quality, but then as the relationship between mother and daughter takes hold and the mist clears, the notion of the rebellious nature of the adolescent daughter is replaced by underlying reasons for the daughter's behaviour. I understand from my research into the Author's life that this relationship is a reflection of that between Irene and her mother. Short, perceptive and wicked, a brilliantly crafted story. In this edition you have a second story which again doesn't let the Nemirovsky fan down.
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on 23 March 2014
This book arrived promptly,and though used, in good condition. This book is more like a novella than a fully fledged novel, but is a great read.
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on 1 October 2013
Love all her work, very readable and engaging, especially suite francaise,
fire in the blood and the dogs and the wolves.
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A brilliant piece of story-telling. It reads so easily, and the author is amazingly observing and receptive
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on 21 August 2015
A very sad little book but beautifully written.
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