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

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  405 Ratings  ·  59 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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Schmacko
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
...more
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
...more
Patty
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
...more
Amanda
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
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.
Amanda
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
...more
Lesley
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
...more
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
...more
Ria
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
Rebecca
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
...more
Lynn
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
...more
Fran
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
...more
Jenny
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
Saltlakecityhardys
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
...more
Rebecca
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
Amy
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
...more
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
Christie
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
Ellen
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
...more
Jenny
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.
Susan
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.
Norma Wright
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Irene Nemirovsky's books never cease to amaze me. She says so much with so few words. All these novelas are dark and seem to have no message other than darkness. That is until I finish each one and have time to process the story. That darn message sneaks up on me every time, giving me that lightbulb moment! Nemirovsky was/is a powerful writer. It makes what happened to her even more ironic and tragic.
Angie
Jan 03, 2008 added it
Shelves: will-return-to
Since this is four books in one, four seperate reviews.

David Golder- 5 stars. You can see from this, her first work, that Nemirovsky had a love/hate relationship with not only the bourgeoisie, of which she herself was a member, but also her Jewish heritage. David Golder, is a work obsessed man who is finding himself on the verge of losing everything...his wife and daughter who seem only to care about the money he makes, his business, and eventually his sanity and health.

Mara
Jan 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Russian Lit Lovers
Recommended to Mara by: Angie
I found Irene Nemirovsky's personal story as intriguing as her four stories in this collection! The introduction by Claire Messud provided great insights although it does "give away" the stories themselves. David Golder was classic despair somewhat reminiscent of Dostoyevsky while The Courilof Affair was my favorite, put me in mind of The Kitchen Boy. Overall a good introduction to this talented young author who sadly never got to finish her own life on her own terms.
Laurene Powers
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
I did not realize initially that these were short stories or probably would not have requested the book-just not a short story fan. I enjoyed the introduction more than the stories! I loved Suite Francaise which was published many years after the author's death at Auschwitz, but these stories not of same caliber.
Peg
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: all who enjoyed Suite Francaise
I was curious to read an earlier book of Irene Nemirovsky after reading Suite Francaise. Her skill as a write was evident as early as these stories. The story of David Golder was my favorite - story of a man's declining years, his realization that some of the things that brought him the greatest pleasure in life were based on falsehoods.
Leah
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Némirovsky writes her characters so vividly, each flaw and quirk shaping distinct personalities. And her plots serve to illustrate her characters as well, emphasizing their strengths and weaknesses. Each novel takes on a different tone, but they all work remarkably well, and the endings never fail to make their points.
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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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