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L'Amour soudain

3.50  ·  Rating Details  ·  205 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Un écrivain à l'automne de sa vie, une jeune fille dévouée : Ernest et Iréna sont dépassés par un amour improbable, fulgurant. Les portes de l'intime s'entrouvrent, les secrets de l'existence s'éclairent d'un jour nouveau. L'amour, soudain, repeuple les souvenirs d'une vie traversée par l'Histoire.
Mass Market Paperback, 173 pages
Published October 19th 2006 by Points (first published 2003)
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Diane S ⛄
Mar 19, 2014 Diane S ⛄ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book cover, it exemplifies the story so well. This is a quiet and introspective book featuring two people that are so different. Ernst, who disclaimed his Jewish roots when he was young, was a veteran of the Red Army in the Ukraine. He was a communist who persecuted the Jews. Now at the age of seventy, in failing health, he is trying to write his memoirs, finding a way to come terms with his past behavior and beliefs. Seeking forgiveness from his now dead parents.

Irena is 36, her par
Anne Slater
Jul 12, 2014 Anne Slater rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I've read it again I might give it a 5th star.

I tried a previous book by Apelfeld and couldn't get into it. This I read in one sitting.

It is such a sympathetic laying out of the two characters-- a 36 year old maiden lady and the 70 something scholar for whom she keeps house. Their secrets are never revealed-- it would have been quite a different book if they had been-- but their actual escapades are not the subject of the story.

This book is about Irena and Ernst's failed connections with t
May 14, 2014 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, 2014
As I read this story I felt as if I was trespassing, a voyeur witnessing two souls find an accidental love. Their love is unspoken but understood, a silent intruder without premeditation. Every gesture is noted and understood, no interpretation required. Two people so dissimilar but so much a like. Their love is pure, genuine - it has no boundaries only to envelop the other in a positive way. A deep friendship set on fire, giving comfort, easing pain. Completely accepting of each other, uncondit ...more
Jim Leffert
Ernst is a 70-year old Jewish man, a refugee from Europe, living in Israel several decades after World War II. Back in the 1930’s in Romania, he was a strident young communist who had rejected his family and his heritage. As part of the revolutionary vanguard, he and his young comrades torched “bourgeois” businesses owned by local Jews. During the war he fought with distinction and bravery as an officer in the Red Army. Young Ernst’s wife and child parents perished in the war, as did his parents ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Irena does everything she can to make things pleasant for Ernst: she wears makeup; she makes sure that her clothes will catch his eye each morning. Ernst's vision is sharp, and he notices the details."

Ernst is an over 70 year old and Irena is only 35. She keeps house for him and caters to his needs and tries to calm his emotions. Whether he is angry, depressed, sullen or occasionally joyful, Irena finds all of Ernst's moods beautiful.

Half way through the book I begin to think about skimming; th
Jan 18, 2015 Tonya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
A poignant, heartbreaking new work -- the story of a lonely older man and his devoted young caretaker who transform each other's lives in ways they could never have imagined.

Ernst is a gruff seventy-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine who landed, almost by accident, in Israel after World War II. A retired investment advisor, he lives alone (his first wife and baby daughter were killed by the Nazis; he divorced his shrewish second wife several years ago) and spends his time laboring over his u
Jennifer S. Brown
Sep 11, 2014 Jennifer S. Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd actually give this a 3 1/2 stars, but I'm inclined to round up here. This short novel of Ernst, a 70-something year old man being cared for by Irena, a thirty-something woman. They live in Israel, but Ernst was born in Ukraine and Irena in a displaced persons camp after the war. The novel is just about them: others appear through Ernst's writing (and, yes, a doctor or two show up), but the book is claustrophobic, concentrating so wholly on them.

Through Ernst's writing we see him as a young m
David Kinchen
May 04, 2014 David Kinchen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BOOK REVIEW: 'Suddenly, Love': Love Really Does Conquer All


Amor Vincit Omnia: Shortly before the start of the first millennium, the Roman poet Virgil (70 B.C.- 19 B.C. most famous as the author of the "Aeneid" ) wrote "love conquers all things; let us too surrender to Love."

* * *

Ernst, the let's- get-down-to-brass-tacks, just the facts protagonist of Aharon Appelfeld's "Suddenly, Love" (Schocken Books, a division of Random House, translated from the Hebrew by Jeffre
Jul 16, 2015 Iulia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Pacat ca nu am continuat sa servesc in armata. Era o lupta sanatoasa. Orice alta lupta e un razboi impotriva propriei tale persoane."

"Anii cei mai adevarati din viata mea au fost cei petrecuti in Armata Rosie. Acolo stii clar cine iti e dusman si cine iti e prieten. Soldatii sunt fii tai, iar dusmanul e un sarpe care trebuie zdrobit. Pierderile sunt multe si grele, dar gandurile iti sunt limpezi si nu te macina indoielile. Faci ceea ce trebuie sa faci, iar noapte, chiar daca bat tunurile, dormi
Jul 17, 2014 Ashley rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014
Excerpt from my full review at

Everything about this book spoke to me when I picked it up in Barnes & Noble last week. The dust cover, saturated with color. The title, endearing me to the protagonists. The premise, that of an elderly man and his young female companion, both faced with the burden of their pasts and the legacy they carry from previous generations.

When we meet him, Ernst Blumenfeld is a 70-year-old man on the precipice of his death. He suffers thr
Nov 16, 2014 Lorilin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc
This is the story of an older man, Ernst, and his young, simple, devoted caretaker, Irena, who helps him reconnect and make peace with his past. In all honesty, I hated--HATED--this book when I first started it. Both characters are incredibly extreme--Ernst in his ridiculously rigid way of viewing the world, and Irena in her total and complete submission to the task of caring for Ernst. Seriously, I almost put the book down after reading the nth description of Ernst expressing vehement disapprov ...more
Thankfully I do not base all my reading choices based on titles or I would never have picked up Suddenly, Love by Aharon Appelfeld, and I would have missed out on a masterfully told story unconditional love. The story takes place in Israel where the reader meets Ernst, a 70-year-old Red Army veteran from Ukraine, and thirty-six year old Irena, the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Irena has been caring for Ernst and his home for two years and finds is intellect fascinating, yet the two are so ver ...more
Cititor înrăit sau nu, probabil că aproape în fiecare carte de ficţiune ai întâlnit o poveste de dragoste. Şi, totuşi, e o temă care poate fi abordată inedit de fiecare dată, aşa că până şi în astăzi poţi citi un roman care să te surprindă cu acest subiect vechi de când lumea. La fel, e aproape imposibil să nu-ţi fi trecut prin mână o carte despre Holocaust, dar chiar şi acum se pare că e un subiect care conţine teritorii ce merită explorate. Dacă abordezi inedit ambele subiecte, în aceeaşi cart ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I read it for a book group. I enjoyed this book more than his other books. It is set in Jerusalem in modern times. I liked it because it had a more personal feel than his other books. It is the story of an elderly man and his housekeeper. The man has had his memories of his past lives in Europe locked inside of him. Through his relationship with Irena, his housekeeper he is able to unlock the secret parts of his past and his identity and strangely find love at the end ...more
Oct 19, 2014 CJ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admire how this author uses the story within the story to explain how the character has arrived at this point. And I just wish Irena had a bit more depth. I get that she is a simple woman, but it can be exhausting to read how much she lives for others - first her parents and then Ernst - all the while berating herself for being less than those around her. That said, the book is beautiful in its streamlined style. A window into a co-dependent relationship. It takes a great deal of still to adva ...more
Quiet tale of a 70 year old gruff Israeli man who is taken care of by a pious woman,Irena, in her mid 30's after his surgery 2 years ago. He grovels in despair over his unpublished books while Irena tenderly ministrates to his daily needs. Slowly he realizes he is falling in love with her and she returns his love. This book did not really resonate with me as I did not feel the power and struggle of the characters to the depth in which it was intended.
Richard Lewis
Jul 22, 2014 Richard Lewis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Has a wonderful emotional atmosphere. Part of tis is about the powers of silence and carefully considered words. Part is a lovely love story betweeen a sick elderly writer and the young, simple woman who cares for him . How they both are awakened by the relationship is beautifully rendered. Self forgiveness, the compelling force of one's heritage are all touched upon. Found this very compelling.
Nicole Jacob
It's not the writing that I didn't like or the main plot... because both were amazing.

This is a good reminder that love knows no boundaries - age, history, race, etc mean nothing when it comes to love. Personally, I had an issue with the characters falling in love because of their ages. I'm not saying it never happens or won't happen... I just don't care of relationships of this type.
Amy Rhodes
Not quite sure why I picked this up and my 3 star rating is more a reflection of type of novel, rather than quality. In other words, this spare, elegant musing on Jewish themes is not my cup of tea but the gentle, caring relationship between the two characters is lovely and original and more than enough to hold the novel together.
Elsie Klumpner
Oct 21, 2014 Elsie Klumpner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A wonderful book, well written. Follows the relationship between a retired, Jewish, Russian Red Army soldier who now lives in Israel. He tries to expiate his youthful anti-Semitic activities through writing as his health fails. He is cared for by a young, uncultured woman who doesn't understand his past but accepts him fully. They grow closer through out the story. A story of love and forgiveness.
Gary Lincoff
Jul 04, 2014 Gary Lincoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magical book - so simply told, almost childlike, predictable, but surprising as it lures you into a world almost biblical when a holy spirit infused all of life and one's most vital effort was to maintain mindfulness
Some eloquent writing and a moving story, reminding me of things I might need to be reminded of, but I kind of plodded through it out of duty rather than love.
Jul 06, 2014 Jane rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boring. That's the only way I can describe it. Couldn't wait to finish it. Hoped that something would happen but was disappointed.
Aug 04, 2007 K rated it did not like it
Shelves: hebrew
Is it me? Was this a crummy book, or was it just that I was reading it in Hebrew? I can't describe how boring it was. I must have missed the point, somehow. Middle-aged spinster works as caretaker for terminally ill old man, sees him through illness and bouts of depression as he attempts to write his memoirs, they gradually fall in love. All 176 pages of that in Hebrew. Verbose, repetitive, BORING. I'm embarrassed to tell this to my Hebrew book club, of course, because I'm sure they'll reveal ho ...more
Erika Dreifus
Review now available via Jewish Journal (based on complimentary galley).
Caryn Shaffer
Aug 16, 2014 Caryn Shaffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking and sweet. Have a box of tissues nearby.
Feb 20, 2015 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story started to lag in the middle...
Jul 28, 2011 CVV added it
"Iréna sait qu'Ernest n'aime pas les consolations vaines, les mots décoratifs, ou les mots en l'air. Un jour il lui a dit ceci, qu'elle n'oubliera jamais : "Les mots qui ne sont pas reliés à une souffrance ne sont pas des mots, mais de la paille. Toutes ces années je suis allé vers des lieux auquels je n'appartenais pas, vers des mots qui n'étaient pas nés en moi." Que signifie "des mots qui ne sont pas nés en moi " ? voulut-elle demander. Ernest devina ses pensées et dit : "Des mots qui ne sont ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Marilynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Draggy. Sweet Jewish story
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AHARON APPELFELD is the author of more than forty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Until the Dawn's Light and The Iron Tracks (both winners of the National Jewish Book Award) and The Story of a Life (winner of the Prix Médicis Étranger). Other honors he has received include the Giovanni Bocaccio Literary Prize, the Nelly Sachs Prize, the Israel Prize, the Bialik Prize, the Independent Fo ...more
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