Jewishness in the Fiction of Irène Némirovsky

Post date: Sep 08, 2010 7:15:45 PM

Was Irène Némirovsky, the author of the much praised novel Suite Française an anti-Semitic, self-hating Jew? That’s the charge that has been leveled by some critics ever since the 2007 publication here in England of her 1929 novel David Golder, her most popular and acclaimed novel of the day. Her harshly drawn tale of a rich Jewish businessman includes a description of his nose, “enormous and hooked, the nose of an old Jewish moneylender” and supposedly tribal traits like Golder’s “obsessive Jewish fear of death.”