BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5; The Writing 5 / 5
BOOK REVIEW: Absorbing. David Golder, published in France in 1929 was Irene Nemirovsky’s break out novel. In it she dares to explore the dirty undercurrents of greed and power in the financial markets of the day, with a depth and maturity well beyond her age of 26 years at the time she wrote it.
The lead character David Golder is a powerful and ruthless Jewish financier, who has worked his way up from meagre beginnings in poverty stricken Russia. Readers join him at a time in his life where he is facing his mortality and reassessing his life and its meaning. He is paralysed by his inability to control the situation and brooding over what his legacy will be. While the lead character is not one that readers may ordinarily identify with or feel supportive of, the superficiality and greed of the other characters in Golder’s life are even less worthy of respect.
Nemirovsky expertly illuminates the shades of grey in one’s opinion of what is right and wrong and shows us that greed and ruthlessness can take many forms. This story can take a reader on a powerful journey of self reflection – and in that respect this story is timeless, a mark of excellent literature.