Author(s): Irene Nemirovsky
Introspective, intense and poignant, "The Wine of Solitude" is the most autobiographical of all Irene Nemirovsky's novels, now available in English for the first time. Imbued with melancholy, and regret, it explores the troubled relationship between a young girl, her distant, self-absorbed mother and her mother's lover, Max. We follow the family through the Great War and the Russian Revolution, as the young Helene grows from a dreamy, unhappy child into an angry young woman. Through hot summers in a fictionalised Kiev (Nemirovsky's own birthplace) and the cruel winters of St Petersburg, the would-be writer Helene blossoms, despite her mother's neglect, into a clear-eyed observer of the life around her. "The Wine of Solitude" is a powerful tale, telling less of the end of innocence, than of disillusionment; the story of an upbringing that produces a young woman as hard as a diamond, prepared to wreak a shattering revenge on her mother.
An astonishing depiction of human greed and emotion from the author of Suite Francaise.
Irene Nemirovksy was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became a bestselling novelist, author of David Golder, Le Bal, The Courilof Affair, All Our Worldly Goods and other works published in her lifetime or soon after, as well as the posthumously published Suite Francaise and Fire in the Blood. The Wine of Solitude (Le Vin de Solitude) was first published in France in 1935. Nemirovksy died in Auschwitz in 1942. Sandra Smith is a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, and has translated all the novels of Irene Nemirovksy available in English. 'Sandra Smith's translations are of the highest quality.' J.M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books