Irene Nemirovsky’s novel All Our Worldly Goods reminds us that even in the darkest of times, where this is a will there is a way. Read on for my full review.
All Our Worldly Goods Book Synsopis
In haunting ways, this gorgeous novel prefigures Irène Némirovsky’s masterpiece Suite Française.
Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death, All Our Worldly Goods is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers.
Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations.
This brilliant novel is full of drama, heartbreak, and the telling observations that have made Némirovsky’s work so beloved and admired.
Genre: Literature, Drama, Romance, Historical
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I am an unabashed fan of Nemirovsky’s (and hence translator Sandra Smith) works having previously read and thoroughly enjoyed her titles Suite Francaise, The Courilof Affair and David Golder. Just as in each of these works, Nemirovsky uses All Our Worldly Goods as a vehicle to convey a powerful message which remains relevant to this day.
Nemirovsky is probably best known for her courage in shining light on some of the darker sides of the elite society of her time. Although never nearing what one would call a ‘rose-coloured glasses’ view of the world, All Our Worldly Goods is from the very first line exceedingly hopeful.
They were together, so they were happy. Even though the watchful family slipped between them, separating them gently but firmly, the young man and woman knew they were near one another; nothing else mattered.
The young man and woman are star-crossed lovers in the bent of Romeo and Juliet, although Pierre Hardelot and Agnès Florent are considerably more endearing. The interactions between these characters and their families are subtle and genuine; the prose elegant and evocative but never indulgent.
There is a very appealing undertone of revolutionary zeal in Nemirovsky’s All Our Worldly Goods.
We follow the characters on their life journey in a tug-of-war between hope and obligation, through shocking loss and moments of joy. This novel explores love in its many forms, and ultimately the inspiration and steely determination that emotion can provide.
Ultimately uplifting, All Our Worldly Goods is a novel that is hard to put down, with an extremely valuable message. If you are looking for an introduction to the works of Irene Nemirovsky, this novel is an excellent place to begin.
BOOK RATING: The Writing 5 / 5 ; The Story 4.5 / 5 – Overall 4.75