Thursday, 8 August 2013

Book Review: The Misunderstanding by Irène Némirovsky

Yet another book where I was seduced by the cover (yes, I’m aware of “never judge a book by it’s cover” but I always do…), The Misunderstanding tells the tale of a man who embarks on an affair with a married woman. Their infatuation, however, soon turns slightly sour and relationship takes twists and turns that are completely out of the ordinary. It’s only a short novel, but that doesn’t mean it loses any of the depth of a longer book…
I loved Némirovsky‘s glamorous and evocative writing style that beautifully manages to flesh out well-rounded characters and create a fantastic sense of place. Better yet, it’s the subtle desperation and tensions that bubble underneath this alluring façade that grab you so deeply as you navigate the plot line. Put simply, this is a great novel, and a really interesting take on a story that has been done a hundred times. Némirovsky has made it fresh and exciting and it only made me want to read more of her work, and for me that is the mark of a truly great author. I want you to read it. Now. Then tell me what you thought.

For those interested, I give you the back blurb:

"Yves Harteloup is a disappointed young man, scarred by the war. He returns for the summer to the resort where he spent blissful childhood holidays and immediately becomes infatuated by the beautiful, bored Denise, whose rich husband is away on business. Intoxicated by summer nights and Yves' intensity, Denise falls passionately in love, before the idyll has to end and Yves returns to his mundane office job. In the mournful Paris autumn their love founders on mutual misunderstanding and Denise is driven mad with desire and jealous suspicion until, acting on her sophisticated mother's advice , she takes action...which she may regret forever..."

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