David Golder

David Golder

Book rating: 03 Paperback

By (author) Irène Némirovsky, Introduction by Patrick Marnham, Translated by Sandra Smith

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 193mm x 15mm | 113g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099493969
  • ISBN 13: 9780099493969
  • Sales rank: 11,473

Product description

Translated by Sandra Smith, with an introduction by Patrick Marnham. In 1929, 26-year-old Irene Nemirovsky shot to fame in France with the publication of her second novel David Golder. At the time, only the most prescient would have predicted the events that led to her extraordinary final novel Suite Francaise and her death at Auschwitz. Yet the clues are there in this astonishingly mature story of an elderly Jewish businessman who has sold his soul. Golder is a superb creation. Born into poverty on the Black Sea, he has clawed his way to fabulous wealth by speculating on gold and oil. When the novel opens, he is at work in his magnificent Parisian apartment while his wife and beloved daughter, Joyce', spend his money at their villa in Biarritz. But Golder's security is fragile. For years he has defended his business interests from cut-throat competitors. Now his health is beginning to show the strain. As his body betrays him, so too do his wife and child, leaving him to decide which to pursue: revenge or altruism? Available for the first time since 1930, David Golder is a page-turningly chilling and brilliant portrait of the frenzied capitalism of the 1920s and a universal parable about the mirage of wealth.

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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.

Customer reviews

By Mark Thwaite 10 Dec 2008 3

Like her other novels Le Bal and Fire in the Blood, David Golder was recently re-issued following the huge success achieved by Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise. This latter novel was written by the Jewish author whilst she was in hiding in France during the Second World War. The manuscript was hidden in a suitcase and lost for almost 50 years! When it was found by her eldest daughter and subsequently published (originally in France in 2004) it met with huge acclaim and Nemirovsky, a popular author in the 1930's but forgotten since she died of typhus in Auschwitz in 1942, suddenly refound her place amongst the pantheon of critically praised writers.
David Golder was Nemirovsky's debut novel. It was published in France in 1929 and made into a film in 1930. The 26 year old Nemirovsky was, at the time, widely lauded for its accomplishments. The novel tells the moving and timeless story of David Golder, a self-made and ruthless business man. A Ukrainian Jew from a poor background he is now someone to be reckoned with. But his health is ailing and his daughter is a foolhardy good-for-nothing. It is time for David to re-evaluate his life and his relationships and what is really important to him.

Review quote

"Her deceptively simply and understated style is best suited to shorter fiction: her touch is light, but with an underlying darkness that bears witness to exile, marginality and existential frustration" -- Aamer Hussein Independent "This is a writer of rare power, make no mistake" Evening Standard "A sordid tragedy that makes us for the thousandth time question the worth of human existence. The impression remains with the reader that it is the work of a woman who has the strength of one of the masters like Balzac or Dostoyevsky" New York Times, 1930 "A powerful description of a man's relentless decline" -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times "Striking first work, sensitively translated by Sandra Smith" Sunday Telegraph