Yves Harteloup is a disappointed young man, old money fallen on hard times, who returns for the summer to the rich, comfortable Atlantic resort of Hendaye, where he spent idyllic childhood holidays. He becomes infatuated by a beautiful young woman, Denise, whose rich husband is often away on business. Yves seduces Denise and leaves her intensely, jealously in love, as he returns to the office at the end of the summer.
Yet in the mournful Paris autumn their love flounders. As Denise is driven mad with desire and suspicion, Yves seems to back off emotionally and, suffocated by her passion, he asks her to leave him alone for a while. This moment of misunderstanding is the turning point: he believes she has understood his needs, but beneath the surface she is delirious with anguish, now mixed with a sour bitterness.
With a biting satirical eye and a characteristic perception for the fault lines in human relationships, Irène Némirovsky's first novel shows sure signs of the brilliant novelist she was later to become.
About Irene Nemirovsky
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Published October 1, 2012
by Chatto & Windus.
Literature & Fiction.