The Misunderstanding by Irene Nemirovsky

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A fantastic period piece with hard-edged insights and convincing emotion.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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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IRNE NMIROVSKY was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became a bestselling novelist, author of David Golder, Le Bal, The Courilof Affair, All Our Worldly Goods and other works published in her lifetime or afterwards, such as Suite Franaise and Fire in the Blood. The Misunderstanding (Le Malentendu) was first published in France in Les OEuvres libres in 1926. Nmirovsky was prevented from publishing when the Germans occupied France and moved with her husband and two small daughters from Paris to the safety of the small village of Issy-l'Evque (in German occupied territory). She died in Auschwitz in 1942.
 
Published October 1, 2012 by Chatto & Windus. 176 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Misunderstanding
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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Jane Housham on Jul 12 2013

...it's a brilliant synthesis that illuminates the gaping fissures in the French class system wrought by the first world war and industrialisation. If that sounds heavy going, it truly isn't. A fantastic period piece with hard-edged insights and convincing emotion.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Jane Housham on Jul 12 2013

A fantastic period piece with hard-edged insights and convincing emotion.

Read Full Review of The Misunderstanding | See more reviews from Guardian

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