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The Courilof Affair

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  205 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In 1903 Léon M–a devout terrorist–is given the responsibility by the Revolutionary Committee of publicly “liquidating” Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, a notoriously brutal and cold-blooded minister. Posing as his newly appointed personal physician, Léon M is made privy to the inner world of Courilof–his failing health, his troubled domestic situation and, most importantl ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by Vintage Canada (first published 1933)
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Bastet
El caso Kurílov no está a la altura de Suite francesa, la obra maestra de Irène Némirovsky, ni de la extraordinaria El baile, pero esta escritora es un valor seguro, nunca defrauda.

A pesar de que he encontrado bastantes inconsistencias (¿cómo es que León M. sabe tanto de medicina si no es médico?; ¿quién es Schwann, a quien se menciona únicamente en el último capítulo?, etc.), es un magnífico relato sobre los meses previos al atentado contra el ministro de Instrucción Pública de Rusia, Kurílov.
...more
Debbie Robson
Irene Nemirovsky is one of my favourite novelists and that’s not just because she is an excellent writer but also because of the life experiences she draws from for her fiction. She is unlike nearly all the authors I read in that respect who are predominantly Australian, British or American. She was a Russian Jew that grew up in Kiev and spent a year in Finland before the family made their way to France to escape the Russian revolution. Later as a married woman with two daughters she was a first ...more
orsodimondo
MI PIACE QUESTA SOLITUDINE IRRINUNCIABILE
Secondo incontro con Irène Némirovsky, nel mio personale gradimento appena al di sotto del precedente.

Anche questa volta il personaggio protagonista è un uomo: dalla sonnacchiosa provincia francese (che però era il classico fuoco sotto la cenere) si passa agli ambienti della diaspora rivoluzionaria russa a inizio Novecento, per concentrare l’azione tra Pietroburgo e la costa di fronte alla Finlandia.
Attentati, terrorismo, rivolte di piazza, brutale repres
...more
Núria
Yo ya comprendo que no todas las obras de Irène Némirovsky pueden ser tan perfectas como 'Suite francesa', pero es que en mi opinión 'El baile', aunque de una forma totalmente distinta, sí que es tan perfecta como 'Suite francesa', y 'David Golder' y 'El ardor de la sangre' son dos novelitas notables e intensísimas, pero es que 'El caso Kurilov' me ha parecido de una sosería insoportable. Es como si Némirovsky la hubiera escrito con el piloto automático, poniendo buena parte de su buen oficio pe ...more
Gerald Camp
Oct 03, 2011 Gerald Camp rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gerald by: Sheila
Fascinating, off-beat book. Set in pre-revolution Russia, the plot is set in the first sentence: "In 1903, the Revolutionary Committee gave me the responsibility of liquidating Courilof." The protagonist, writing in 1931, tells about how, in order to carry out his assignment, he embedded himself into the household of Courilof, the Minister of Education in the reign of Nicholas II, as his personal physician. In the months he lived with Courilof, he saw him daily, often sleeping in the same room. ...more
Piperitapitta
Ho molto amato questa insolita (almeno per quanto letto finora) Ir��ne N��mirovsky.
Dalla fredda e nevosa Svizzera, dove inizia il romanzo, alla fredda e nevosa Russia, dove tutto si compie: quello che mi ha affascinata di pi�� sono i paesaggi, anche umani, i colori, accesi e allo stesso tempo monotoni, i suoni, assordanti e allo stesso tempo ovattati.
Sul finire dei suoi giorni, il rivoluzionario russo L��on M., rievoca i fatti che portarono all'assassinio di Valerian Aleksandrovic Kurilov, il Mi
...more
Bert
So on one hand this is a delicate and grim character study, not in the least romantic, though if like me you like these things peppered with descriptions of rain on the streets or the first blooms of Spring or something you get plenty of that kind of thing too, but this is also a philosophical treatise on the hypocrisy, morality, and uselessness of terrorism and revolution, which really takes a lot of smarts to do well. Nemirovsky turned out to be a pretty sweet discovery for me this year..
Edith
The Doubting Terrorist: The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky

Abridged version of my review posted on Edith’s Miscellany on 19 September 2013

Russia is a huge country with a rich history. Lamentably, it has also been a history of recurring violence. Outside Russia little is known today of the forerunners of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and the victims on either side. The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky is a fictitious novel based on real events of Russian history.

In 1931 the first-perso
...more
Syrdarya
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Russian revolutionaries resorted to assassinations - and a lot of them - to help kill the old regime. The Courilof Affair is the story of one fictional revolutionary, the son of revolutionaries who was raised to be a part of the cause. His story is told from his perspective as an older man living in France under the name Leon M. In 1903 he was sent to infiltrate the home of the Minister of Education in Imperial Russia, Valerian Courilof, and await the orde ...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Il breve libro della sfortunata scrittrice russa, figlia di un ricco banchiere ebreo ucraino - per stare in uno dei migliori clichè dell'antisemitismo storico -, sfuggita alle persecuzioni del comunismo stalinista per trovare la morte nel 1942 nel lager nazista di Auschwitz, racconta la storia della relazione che si sviluppa tra un terrorista infiltrato dal Partito Comunista russo e la sua vittima designata, un ministro dello zar.

Sotto le mentite vesti di un medico svizzero, Leon M. si infiltra
...more
Ricardo Perez
Intrigas, historias develadas años después, el frío y oscuro mundo de los inicios de la caida del Zar en Rusia pre-revolucionaria. Hasta ahora vamos bien. (Pág. 108).
Bueno...Hoy lo terminé y me encontré con una buena novela que humaniza a los personajes. Por una parte, Legrand, un infiltrado con la misión de asesinar al ministro de educación de Nicolás II, Vladimir Kurílov (o Kuriloff), un personaje tirano, extrema derecha y principal adorador del Zar. Mientras va conviviendo con Kurilov, más lo
...more
Tim
Yet another gem of a book from the author of Suite Francaise. This story has a real resonance with the final days of Tsarist Russia, and focuses on a developing relationship between The terrorist groomed to assasinate Courilof the Minister of Education under Emporer Nicolas II, when working as his medical attendant in St Petersburg.

From an original stance of pure hatred the code named Leon M learns of the savage grip that the despotic Emperor holds over his ministers on government policy but als
...more
Lee

Leon M is an old Russian Revolutionary - he was, as he says, born into the Party - both his parents were revolutionaries and after the death of his mother he was brought up by the local revolutionary committee.
In old age he looks back to one of his earliest assignments - the liquidation of Courilof the ruthless Minister of Education - responsible for the arrest, exile and death of many students.
In order to carry out his mission he has to gain entry to Courilof's household and as soon as he does
...more
Amanda
Mar 18, 2011 Amanda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Amanda by: My friend Colleen
I must admit that I am a real fan of Irene Nemirovsky's writing (especially Suite Francaise) and this did not disappoint.

Leon M is the son of exiled Russian terrorists, living in Switzerland. He is sent back to Russia to assassinate the brutal Minister of Education in as public a fashion as possible. He is planted into the Minister's house as a personal physician while awaiting instructions. As he gets to know the Minister, he becomes sympathetic to the man, until a final brutal act changes his
...more
Barbara
Good to start 2015 with this excellent read. I suspect it might have earned its fifth star if I'd read it in the original French.
Charmie
One word : disappointment!
I was looking for "Suite française", it wasn't available at the library so I took this instead to experience Nemirovsky's writing. It's not...bad per se, it's just not very interesting. It's vaguely a murder mystery, quite short, very easy to read, with flat characters I couldn't relate to. Very few surprises in this quite monotonous storyline. The writing is nothing special, not what I expected. In my opinion it's more or less the literary equivalent of an episode of C
...more
Lupurk
E' la prima esperienza con questa autrice e di sicuro non sarà l'ultima, la sua scrittura mi piace, è molto evocativa ed è facile lasciarsi trasportare nella lettura. Sono rimasta meno coinvolta dalla trama, ma sicuramente per colpa dell'altro libro che sto leggendo in contemporanea, che mi ha letteralmente rapita. Avrei voluto dedicare a questo libretto tutta l'attenzione che merita, ma anche così ho saputo apprezzare soprattutto il carattere riflessivo, la mancanza di un giudizio fermo, ma l'i ...more
Sage
Picked it up because of the historical setting (early 20th century Russia), and on the back of having read her other novel. An interesting piece, as a novella and the study of the themes. It just didn't quite hit the spot for me, in much the same way that Russian writers of old don't quite. Big themes wrangled into long sentences where nothing much happens. Still I'm rating it that high because the technical aspects and greater purpose seem more important than personal taste.
If you like Tolstoy
...more
Julie
I'm not sure if it's the writing, or simply the translation that causes this novel to feel lacking. Written as a memoir, the plot unfolds as is expected and dictated at the onset. A short little book with a big theme... what is justice. Set in pre-revolution Russia, it is the memoir of an assassin, sent to kill the Minister of Education. With bloodshed on both sides, it's difficult to see who is right, and who is wrong... just like in real life. It's a sobering story, but not something to relish ...more
Päivi Brink
Young revolutionary sets out to murder Minister Courilof in 1905 Russia, and becomes his personal doctor. But when the revolutionary gets to know Courilof, it becomes impossible for him to murder him. He bocomes too human.

200 pages seemed long, with all this resignation, sadness and tiredness. There were some really beautiful scenes, though. The writer is one of my favourites, but this is not one of her best books.
Catalina
From the story point of view, I appreciated less than 'Come le mosche d'autunno'; but it was more profound presenting very well human nature, the constant fight for power; the humanitarian side of terrorists and rulers, how enemies can actually care for each other or empathize with one another!
Rafael
una verdadera muestra del bien y el mal. De la sensivilidad y bondad de aquel que tiene que hacer explotar al ministro de educación en la epoca del Zar. Descripción magnifica de los personajes. En español el libro se llama "El caso Kirilov".
Sandie
2 1/2 stars. It was just "okay" for me but I love her writing style
Toks (at GalacticTidesx)
An example of good writing with depth and character development in a story where plot isn't that strong. I like it fine, but in so many ways this was a boring book with interesting elements.
Goddess
This is seriously emotional. I couldn't stop crying when I read how the kids die in the cold. I think its one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.
Julie
surprisingly relevant for today depsite historical setting. Beautifully written and translated.
Johanna
It was a nice read but I was not as engrossed with it as much as The Dogs and the Wolves.
Sarah
A perfect gem of a book with the most crystalline characters...
Cal
How humanity gets in the way of a cause.
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Goodreads Librari...: Could someone please add two covers? 2 16 Sep 09, 2013 03:27AM  
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Irène Némirovsky (born February 11, 1903, Kiev, died August 17, 1942, Auschwitz, Poland) was a Jewish novelist and biographer born in the Ukraine, who lived and worked in France.

More about Irène Némirovsky...
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