In haunting ways this wonderful, compelling novel prefigures Suite Francaise and some of the themes of Nemirovsky's great unfinished sequence of novels. "All Our Worldly Goods", though, is complete, and exquisitely so - a perfect novel in its own right. First published in France in 1947, after the author's death, it is a gripping story of family ...Read MoreIn haunting ways this wonderful, compelling novel prefigures Suite Francaise and some of the themes of Nemirovsky's great unfinished sequence of novels. "All Our Worldly Goods", though, is complete, and exquisitely so - a perfect novel in its own right. First published in France in 1947, after the author's death, it is a gripping story of family life and starcrossed lovers, of money and greed, set against the backdrop of France from 1911 to 1940 between two terrible wars. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and the family patriarch, the tyrannical industrialist Julien Hardelot, provoking a family feud which cascades down the generations.This is "Balzac" or "The Forsyte Saga" on a smaller, more intimate scale, the bourgeoisie observed close-up with Nemirovsky's characteristically sly humour and clear-eyed compassion. Full of drama and heartbreak, telling observation of the devastating effects of two wars on a small town and an industrial family, this is Nemirovsky at the height of her powers. The exodus and flow of refugee humanity through the town in both wars foreshadows Suite Francaise, but differently, because this is Northern France, near the Somme, and the town itself is twice razed. Taut, evocative and beautifully paced, the novel points up with heartbreaking detail and clarity how close were those two wars, how history repeated itself, tragically, shockingly...It opens in the Edwardian era, on a fashionable Normandy beach, and ends with a changed world, under Nazi occupation.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-06-20 A world at war ruptures the orderly lives of two French provincial families connected by marriage in this serenely beautiful tale by French novelist Nemirovsky (Suite Francaise). In the northern village of Saint-Elme, early in the 20th century, Pierre, the scion of the Hardelot Paper Mill family, marries Agnes Florent, whose mother is a Parisian widow of the lower middle class. The union defies Pierre's redoubtable grandfather, and the newlyweds are cast out of the village. Yet together they thrive and have a son before Pierre is called to fight in WWI. "He didn't think he would be saved, he alone among thousands of men," yet he is, returning from the front a wounded man. The villagers in tiny Saint-Elme flee the encroaching Germans, lose their husbands and sons in battle, and watch their children grow up only to face another world war. The bourgeois importance of keeping up appearances, so skillfully delineated ("Society relies entirely on nuances," notes Pierre's father, to which his mother replies, "And stupidity."), is both undermined and bolstered by the love between Agnes and Pierre. This is another stunning translation by Smith of the tremendously stirring Nemirovsky, who died in Auschwitz at the age of 39. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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