The Courilof Affair

The Courilof Affair

Paperback

By (author) Irène Némirovsky, Translated by Sandra Smith

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 197mm x 10mm | 133g
  • Publication date: 2 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099493985
  • ISBN 13: 9780099493983
  • Sales rank: 197,082

Product description

In 1903 Leon M - the son of two Russian revolutionaries - is given the responsibility of 'liquidating' Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, the notoriously brutal and cold-blooded Russian Minister of Education, by the Revolutionary Committee. The assassination, he is told, must take place in public and be carried out in the most grandiose manner possible in order to strike the imagination of the people. Posing as his newly appointed personal physician, Leon M takes up residence with Courilof in his summer house in the Iles and awaits instructions. But over the course of his stay he is made privy to the inner world of the man he must kill - his failing health, his troubled domestic situation and, most importantly, the tyrannical grip that the Czar himself holds over all his Ministers, forcing them to obey him or suffer the most deadly punishments. Set during a period of radical upheaval in European history, The Courliof Affair is an unsparing observation of human motives and the abuses of power, an elegy to a lost world and an unflinchingly topical cautionary tale.

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Author information

Irene Nemirovsky 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 and other works published in her lifetime or soon after, as well as the posthumous Suite Francaise and Fire in the Blood. In July 1942 she was arrested by the French police and interned in Pithiviers concentration camp, and from there immediately deported to Auschwitz where she died in August 1942.

Review quote

"Nemirovsky not only unravels the machinations of a revolutionary mind, but rewrites historical events - the novel is based on a real assassination. Like Sartre and Camus, Nemirovsky paints a fictional picture that resonates deep in the contemporary mind, ensuring that terrorism is something more than just a moral and philosophical question" Guardian "Irene Nemirovsky is a novelist of the very first order" Evening Standard