Monday, January 18, 2010

Being Irène Némirovsky

Jonathan Weiss wrote a very intimate biography of Némirovsky a few years back.  There are also various websites dedicated to her, including this one.  She seems to enjoy more fame now than she ever did when she was alive.  For many Jews she was very controversial in her day, as she not only converted to Catholicism, but many regarded her early books and articles as antisemitic, in particular David Golder, which was made into a film in 1930.  Weiss appears to feel that her conversion to Catholicism was genuine, and not simply a means of dodging the antisemitic laws of the time.  Either way, she was not able to escape the Holocaust.

She was born in Kiev, and raised in St. Petersburg, but French became her first language, especially after her family moved to Paris to escape the Bolshevik Revolution.  She enjoyed a certain amount of success in her day, but it was the printing of the unfinished Suite Francaise in 2004 that appears to have immortalized her.

1 comment:

  1. I find myself reading David Golder again. Kind of rough, as Golder is not the kind of guy you feel yourself warming up to, but the daughter is interesting and I can see how this would have made for an interesting movie. Too bad there doesn't appear to be a copy anywhere available.