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Dimanche and Other Stories by Irène…

Dimanche and Other Stories

by Irène Némirovsky

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1629119,818 (3.87)30
Written between 1934 and 1942, moving from the drawing rooms of pre-war Paris to the lives of men and women in wartime France,these ten stories show : a keen eye for the details of social class; the tensions between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives; the manners and mannerisms of the French bourgeoisie; questions of religion and personal identity.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Ten stories written between 1934 and 1942, each of them captivating and passionate. They capture the intricate undercurrents of relationships in families and between lovers, inhibited by the conventions and social graces of the times. ( )
  VivienneR | Apr 20, 2017 |
Written and set in the years prior to and during WWII, Irène Némirovsky takes us into the lives of a cast of dysfunctional relationships in France. Through this novel, she examines the lives and relationships between lovers, between mothers and daughters, husbands and wives and anyone in between. Through a series of quick snippets into different lives, we see different styles of self-reflection, of selfishness and of stagnant relationships, floundering but not quite sinking. Many of these stories have stayed with, long after I have finished the book. Although this collection has only 10 stories, I feel like each story has more than enough materials, depth and variety of characters to be its own standalone novel.

Read more at: http://thenovelworld.com/2015/07/10/dimanche-by-irene-nemirovsky/ ( )
  TheNovelWorld | Jul 14, 2015 |
Intense, detailed, shadowy, fascinating stories, set in pre war Paris or Ukraine. ( )
  annejacinta | Mar 6, 2014 |
Persephone publishes a number of collections of short stories – and they are generally the kind of short stories I love. Dimanche and other stories were all written in the 1930’s and 40’s but not published in English until 2000. This is a truly wonderful collection, beautifully written, atmospheric stories, breathtakingly observed, some are almost like short novels in themselves, and peopled with memorably complex but very real characters.
Short stories as I have said before are very difficult to review. In this collection Irène Némirovsky offers glimpses of French bourgeois life in the years just before and during World War Two. They concern relationships, family life and the individual’s sense of themselves in the world around them. The first two Stories Dimanche (Sunday) and Les Rivages Heureux (Those Happy Shores) concern women of different generations examining one another, highlighting how women envisage their futures with and pin their hopes on men. Dimanche describes one perfect Sunday in spring, a mother and daughter and their different experiences of love. In These Happy Shores – the middle-aged Ginette meets the young Christiane in a bar, while the latter waits for her lover and Ginette tries to attract the attentions of the kind of men on who she must depend on for money.
“The bar was gradually emptying. It was three o’clock. Eventually only she and Christiane were left. With a weary gesture she brushed away the wisps of hair falling over her eyes and stared at Christiane. ‘Some people have all the luck. She’s got lovely skin, that girl. But she looks so pleased with herself! They’re so stupid, young girls. She’s got a good figure. I looked as good as her once,’ she thought, as she remembered what her body used to be like and how Maurice used to stroke her lovely curved hips. It was hard, having to return to this way of life after a ten year relationship, almost a marriage.”
(Those Happy Shores)
The other stories are all just as exquisite – mainly set in France, for me those stories which depict life in those first years of World War Two – obviously written during these years and just before Irène Némirovsky’s death in 1942 at the hands of the Nazi’s, had added poignancy and resonated strongly. Fraternite (brotherhood) is a fantastically well-crafted story of a meeting between two Jewish men. The first is Christian Rabinovitch a wealthy Jewish man who although completely assimilated to the society in which he moves, he suspects that he can never really belong. The other is a poor man with the same surname; he has spent his life moving between different homes, he has lost one son and seen another leave for England. In his badly dressed namesake Rabinovitch sees everything he wishes to disassociate himself from, ultimately he must recognise, however who he is and where he comes from.
“He did not realise it but, carried away by his thoughts, he was swaying forwards and backwards on the seat in a slow a strange rhythm, in time with the motion of the train; and so it was that, in moments of fatigue or stress, his body found itself repeating the rocking movement which had soothed earlier generations of rabbis bent over the Holy Book, money changers over their gold coins, and tailors over their work-benches.
He looked up and caught sight of himself in the mirror. He sighed and gently put his hand to his forehead. Then it came to him in a flash, ‘That’s what I am suffering from… that’s what’s making me pay with my body and my spirit. Centuries of misery, sickness and oppression…millions of poor, feeble, tired bones have gone towards creating mine.’
This glorious collection of short stories was my first experience of Irène Némirovsky, though it won’t be my last – I am already a firm fan. Irène Némirovsky was a French novelist, born into a Russian family in Kiev – who later fled the Russian Empire at the start of the Russian revolution. Born into a Jewish family, Irène Némirovsky later converted to Catholicism yet under the racial laws of Nazi Germany she was arrested during World War Two and died in Auschwitz in 1942 aged 39. In 1929 Irène Némirovsky had published David Golder which made her famous, during the 1930’s and 1940’s she continued to write, both novels and short stories – many works were considered controversial – and she has even been accused of being anti-Semitic. According to the publishers Afterword in my Persephone edition many of the stories and novels that were published during Irène Némirovsky’s life were not published in English until the 1980’s and 90’s. Then of course came the extraordinary discovery of Suite Francaise in 2004 by her daughter – who had kept the manuscript for fifty years without realising what it was. Now it appears as if her novels are enjoying something of a renaissance - there certainly appear to be quite a number of novels available, and I may have to read them all. These beautiful stories have really whetted my appetite for more. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Dec 8, 2013 |
I just can't get enough of Irene Nemirovsky. 4-and-a-half stars. ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
If her themes are often dark, and if our knowledge of her fate casts its shadow over our readings, her characters and stories are so vibrant and involving that the dominant impression her writing leaves is one of happiness.
added by Shortride | editHarper's Magazine, Benjamin Moser (pay site) (May 1, 2010)
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The Vintage edition and the Persephone edition contain 10 stories. Please do not combine with editions that contain a different selection of stories, or that contain additional stories.
The 10 stories are:
Dimanche = Sunday --
Les rivages heureux = Those happy shores --
Liens du sang = Flesh and blood --
Fraternité = Brotherhood --
La femme de don Juan = Don Juan's wife --
Le sortilège = The spell --
Le spectateur = The spectator --
Monsieur Rose = Mr. Rose --
La confidente = The confidante --
L'inconnu = The unknown soldier.
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