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David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  443 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Readers everywhere were introduced to the work of Irène Némirovsky through the publication of her long-lost masterpiece, Suite Française. But Suite Française was only the coda to the brief yet remarkably prolific career of this nearly forgotten, magnificent novelist. Here in one volume are four of Némirovsky’s other novels–all of them newly translated by the award-winning ...more
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published January 15th 2008 by Everyman's Library (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.90  · 
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 ·  443 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Andrew Cooper
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Four beautiful short stories collected in a beautiful hardback edition. Almost all of them involve aspects of her own short life and while none are autobiographical, after reading all 4 you get a sense of her life through them all. The collections is grounded in her famous David Golder which catapulted her fame in early 20th century France, and the other 3 are just as good in their own way with The Courilof Affair as my favorite.

In David Golder I got a sense of how Nemirovsky saw money and greet
classic reverie
All these four stories are short but David Golder & The Courilof Affair are longer than The Ball & Snow in Autumn. Irene stays true to the adage write what you know which each story has an element of that plus quite a story. I enjoyed all but my favorite was The Courilof Affair.David Golder was written in 1929 by 26 year old Irene Nemirovsky which brought her instant success. The story is about David Golder (he is a Russian emigrant who settles in France). David Golder is ALL about busin ...more
Jul 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Iréne Nèmirovsky is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. I was already in love with her last writing, Suite Française. Then I picked up her novella, Fire in the Blood, and enjoyed it also. Now, I’ve picked up a book of two novellas and two short stories: David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair.

Nèmirovsky was a Russian Jew whose family was forced out of her homeland by the Russian Revolution when Nèmirovsky was a child. The family moved to Paris where they blended
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
In this book there are two stories of about 40-45 pages each and two short novels of about 120-130 pages. I ended up finishing only the two shorter stories.

"The Ball": 3 stars for this one. It's about a French family who has recently had an upturn in fortune. The wife is desperate to be accepted into higher society and plans an elaborate ball. Her petulant and naughty teenage daughter ends up sabotaging the entire affair. As a result she discovers the power she can have over the adults in her li
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readin10
This collection of novels by Neminrovsky begins with her first published work in 1929, David Golder. In case you have forgotten, Nemirovsky died in Auschwitz in 1942 and sixty years later the novel she was working on, Suite Francaise, was found by her daughters and published for the first time. I enjoyed Nemirovsky's style and sad that she didn't get to finish her trilogy. When I found some of her other novels that made her quite popular during her life I wanted to read them too.

I was not disapp
Troy Farlow
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I collect Everyman's Library classics and am always - always - on the hunt for them in used (and new) bookstores. After running across this edition in the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in SoHo, my interest was piqued of course. After researching who Irene Nemirovsky was, I was instantly intrigued to learn more - and then I researched David Golder (the first of four novellas in this edition) and was hooked. Irene was of Ukrainian Jewish origin (Wikipedia) and died at the young age of 39 in Auschwi ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This isn't a book I'd readily recommend to many readers, because like any good Russian (okay, Ukrainian) author, Nemirovsky tends to be, well, depressing. But, HOLY CRAP. This woman could WRIIIIIIIITE. She is a perfect example of that paradoxical writing the Russians seem to have locked down: bitter, but moving; brutally direct, but emotionally muddled; sweet, but terrifying; tightly wound, but freeing. It's inexplicable, but makes for fascinating reading. She is a master of portraiture, and eac ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I skipped David Golder because I couldn't take the Jewish stereotypes. Irene really has a lot of issues with her own people.

The other three stories were good, especially if you like class anxiety and Russian weirdos. (I do.)
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
My introduction to Nemirovsky. Some caustic, self-loathing views of Jews and adult women, yet fascinating for her view on Russian lives before, during, and after revolution.
Marah Kabaservice
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
The writing is excellent, but these novels are too dark. After a while, the unrelenting grimness starts to wear on you.
Victor Carson
During her lifetime, Irene Nemirovsky was best known for two of the stories in this compendium: David Golder and The Courilof Affair. Since her death in 1942 in a concentration camp, she is known for the two stories published posthumously, Suite Francaise and Fire in the Blood, and for the biography (partially fictionalized) published by her daughter, Elisabeth Gille: The Mirador (Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky). I find that her daughter's book gives me a good insight into her mother's com ...more
Alethea Bothwell
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
According to the introduction, we are supposed to find David Golder the most impressive story and the others just slight affairs. I found it impossible to get interested in David Golder, but the others were - ok.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
10/11: This novel is a lot darker than either of the other Nemirovsky novels I have read. The main character's heart is breaking--both physically through multiple heart attacks, and emotionally by losing his narcissistic daughter and wife, as well as his successful business.
9-27: Although the setting is quite different from Fire in the Blood, there are some similarities that are already revealing themselves. Will they turn into major themes throughout her work? Again, Nemirovsky chooses to use
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Ball is an outstanding short story about a young girls' revenge upon her socially climbing mother. It seems to encapsulate perfectly the Jeiwsh immigrant's desperation to become a part of the glittering Parisian society. Despite their wealth, the family know they are being mocked, still they strive to belong.
Snow in Autumn is a deeper narrative that follows a loyal Russian maid as she endures the Revolution, murder, and poverty in Paris as the family flee to a safer place. Unbearably sad, sh
Dils AB
Sep 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I already read and reviewed David Golder so not gonna comment here.

The Ball - the POV of this story is from this girl who longs to be a part of her mother attention and glitz and glamour. This story is about shifting of power. Of when you were a child and suddenly you realized your parents do not hold all the answers or wisdom and they are sometimes as childish as the child they are bringing up in the world. This is a wonderful short story.

Snow in Autumn - A servant story on the collapse of he
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I was very happy to find four Nemirovsky novels in one volume translated from the French by Sandra Smith. The introduction by Claire Messud, whom I admire as a novelist in her own right, is thoughtfully written. "David Golder", the first novel in this collection, is the book that established Nemirovsky's reputation in France in 1929 when she was just twenty-six. Nemirovsky was criticized for caricaturing the Jewish businessman, but in her portrayal of the greedy and unloving wife and daughter I ...more
May 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is my book club's next book. Yep, that's right, I joined a book club. I'll let you know how this book is (if I can remember to buy it!). So far it's starting off a bit slow but there are 4 stories so maybe it's just this particular story. The anti-semitism in the book (which I was expecting because of the controversy surrounding Irene Nemirovsky as a self-hating Jew) is much more prevalent than I would have thought. Will keep you posted.

Ok, I've finished the book (we meet to discuss it on T
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
David Golder - 4 Stars
Any novel that can take me from loathing the central character to grieving his unhappy end in less than 150 pages is a novel that I can embrace despite its shortcomings, mainly surrounding the author's stereotypical descriptions of the predominantly Jewish cast of characters. I think it's a little facile to describe Nemirovsky as anti-semitic. As I read David Golder I thought of contemporary Jewish artists such as Philip Roth or Woody Allen who use negative Jewish stereotyp
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
On par with Suite Francaise. Very well written short stories, excellent read.
David Golder-memoir of a man who lives to make money and finds himself at the end of his life, alone. His last act, a business deal to secure the future of his daughter, the only other thing he loves besides making money.
The Ball-a teenage daughter of nuveau riche parents, abused by her mother, exacts revenge, when her mother refuses to allow her to attend the parents 'coming out' ball. She throws the invitations into t
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is actually composed of four stories (two novels and two short stories). I really enjoyed David Golder. To me it was quintessential Irene Nemirovsky. The Ball (the first short story) was fascinating too - a bit like an O. Henry story with a European flare. The other two stories (Snow in Autumn and The Courilof Affair) were enjoyable reads, but they just didn't pull me in. I thought that all of these stories were artfully translated as well. I generally don't enjoy reading translated bo ...more
I expected a charming collection of stories that shared the same flavor and storytelling style as Suite Francaise. Not! Did I like this book (admittedly I only read the first two stories while on vacation). I did like it!
David Golder exposes a workaholic businessman warts and all and his relationship to a vain wife and spoiled daughter. I liked David Golder in the end and the story was on my mind for several days.
The Ball explores a difficult relationship between a mother and daughter. The power
Nov 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Reading these 4 pieces really fills out my understanding of Nemirovsky's writing. She works with characters that at first may seem mere stereotypes, but she gives us insight into those characters and their inner lives. I find it interesting that a woman so young could imagine the thoughts and motivations of such diverse characters and describe them in a way that rings so true. I usually prefer to read about characters who grow from their life encounters. These characters experience subtle change ...more
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it
The subject of David Golder wasn't as interesting to me as Suite Francaise or Fire in the Blood, but it's a wonderful example of Nemirovsky's ability to so accurately portray the thoughts and feelings of a character.

The Ball was fantastic! It's such a great example of a revenge story. The last line of the story was absolutely perfect.

Snow in Autumn was okay but I think because I loved the Ball so much, I didn't like this one as much. Still interesting.

The Courilof Affair was good. It dragged for
J.M. Hushour
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nemirovsky experienced a resurgence after her novel Suite Francaise was published recently. This ML edition of her short novels is a further attempt to revisit her works of the Twenties and Thirties and, man, is this some good shit! The highlight is "David Golder", the horrifically depressing story of an aged Jewish banker with a crappy family, health problems, and an existential crisis. Extremely good. The other strong piece is the "Couriloff Affair" which is simply an astounding story of a for ...more
Lauren Albert
Nov 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I've been resistant to reading Suite Francaise, her best known work, partly because it is unfinished. But when I saw this in the library, I grabbed it. It is four novellas so it is hard to review as a whole. I found the first and last novellas (David Golder and the Courilof Affair) the most powerful. Nemirovsky shows her genius in her ability to show the complexity of mostly unlikeable people. She is able, for instance, to make the reader sympathetic to the loneliness of Golder despite greedines ...more
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
These were all depressing, thoughtful and thought provoking. Lots of death and end of life contemplation. Normally I have a hard time reading about truly unpleasant protagonists (life is too short to spend time with unpleasant people real or imaginary), but she pulls it off. Most of the characters in these novels are exceptionally spoiled, entitled and unpleasant, but she writes them so beautifully, I almost sympathize with them. I really like that Irene Nemirovsky. It makes me wonder at how muc ...more
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The writing is so elegant yet the stories so depressing, particularly the deeply anti Semitic novella onDavid Golderwhich I found so cringe-worthy. There is so much talent here that I sought to read other books by the author who only has a few other books to enjoy.

2015 update:
just read a short bio on the author's family and learned that her mother was extremely, vain, narcissistic, and emotionally distant. Irene doted on her father and spent most of her time engrossed in books and fled her mothe
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
In these four novels, as in Suite Francaise, Nemirovsky proves that she is a literary master, an artist. These stories were a more satisfying read than Fire in the Blood, which simply reminded me of Suite Francaise and made me want to read it again; they are different enough in setting and character, but her literary style is clearly established, and she shows her striking insight into a variety of characters. Beautiful.
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my absolute favorite things about Nemirovsky as an author is her ability to write a story in such a way that I can completely understand the inner workings of each character. Then suddenly when the story shifts to the perspective of another character who was not sympathetic previously she will tell the tale from their perspective and I'll completely understand and relate to that perspective.
A really impressive ability to make the reader walk a mile in another's shoes.
Carol Mooney
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Irene Nemirovsky was unknown to contemporary readers until the publication of Suite Francaise, some 60 years after her arrest and tragic death at Auschwitz. I was pleased to discover she was already a successful writer for over a decade before her death, and her books are now available. The four short stories in this book are some of her earliest writings, and show her phenomenal talent as a writer...reminiscent of Somerset Maugham in my opinion. I plan to read all of her works.
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Irène Némirovsky (born February 11, 1903, Kiev, died August 17, 1942, Auschwitz, German Occupied Poland) was a Jewish novelist and biographer born in the Ukraine, who lived and worked in France.