Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Dimanche and Other Stories, by Irene Nemirovsky

Pages: 270

Original date of publication: 1934-1941

My edition: 2010 (Persephone)

Why I decided to read: it’s a Persephone!

How I acquired my copy: Persephone website, April 2010

Dimanche and Other Stories is a collection of ten stories, some very short, some much longer. Irene Nemirovsky’s stories focus on average, everyday people in France just before and during WWII, when these stories were published. Love, in all its forms, is an overriding theme of this book, but Nemirovsky’s collection is also about the diametric differences in social situations of her characters.

I’ll be honest and say straight away that I really didn’t like Suite Francaise when it was reprinted a number of years ago, although everyone else was raving about it. I just thought it was to depressing. In this collection of short stories, Nemirovsky deals with the same topics and themes, but for some reason I much preferred this book to her other. Nemirovsky is skilled at highlighting and putting under a microscope the relationships between people. All of her characters, from housewives to teenagers, from Christians to Jews, from rich people to poor, and from soldiers to civilians, are fantastic, even though Nemirovsky only had limited space to write about them in. The contrasts between her characters are frequently bittersweet. Irene Nemirovsky was a fantastic writer; I’m not sure that I fully appreciate the depth of her writing.

This is Persephone no. 87. Endpaper above.

1 comment:

Teddy Rose said...

Suite Francaise was not a favorite of mine either. I do like short stories and will have to take a look at this collection.


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