Sunday, April 25, 2021

David Golder by Irene Nemirovsky


I hope you enjoy listening to Russian Guitar. 






This is a profound novel. It details the lives of poverty stricken Jewish people escaping Eastern Europe and becoming adept at business and then extremely wealthy in Western Europe.

But does it make them happy? It seems to me that in order to avoid hearing the empty rattling in their own souls they fill themselves up with material goods, intrigues, cruises, travel, mistresses and toy boys.

It is very sad to witness a family in which each member so thoroughly hates the other. The protagonist, David Golder, is a brilliant businessman and has given his wife and daughter everything they want, but the stress and pressure is beating him down. He receives no sympathy from wife or daughter, who view him solely as a source to provide their gratifications.

Even when he has a heart attack, no one cares. But then, neither does he. A friend and business associate is failing financially for the same reason Golder is sinking: the extravagant lifestyle of their family. Golder refuses to help him and the man commits suicide.

I am astounded at just how extravagant Golder's family is. Money means absolutely nothing to them, except to buy obscenely expensive cars and jewelry. Their only concern is when it runs out.

If Golder dies, his wife and daughter are worried about the money supply drying up. But then again, if they can get their hands on his money, then it would be better if he died, or so they think.

The callousness of these people is shocking, but convincingly written. This is the first book I've read by Nemirovsky and I enjoyed her fluid, yet pungent style. She exposes her characters so their leathery hearts are absolutely naked.

This book was written in the 1920s before a decade that was going to see the destruction of many wealthy Jews (not to mention poor ones as well) but I wonder how shocking that must be for anyone to live in such glamour and luxury to suddenly find themselves stripped of everything, money, power, human dignity and even life itself.



mudpuddle said...

i haven't given much thought to rich people; i suppose, like the rest of us, they become warped into imagining that their lives are "normal"; that the reality they experience is the same as everyone else's... part of the human condition, i should venture... i'm going to listen to the Russian guitar in just a second; it sounds intriguing...

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI mudpuddle,

I suppose everyone lives inside some type of normal. Personally, I'm satisfied where I am.

Hope you enjoy the guitar.

R.T. said...

Now I’m curious about the author ... I tend to obsess about what makes authors write what they write ....I’m off to do research now ....

R.T. said...

Oh my God ...did you know about the author’s death:
Irène Némirovsky (French: [iʁɛn nemiʁɔfski]; 24 February 1903 – 17 August 1942) was a novelist of Ukrainian Jewish origin who was born in Kiev, Ukraine under the Russian Empire. She lived more than half her life in France, and wrote in French, but was denied French citizenship. Arrested as a Jew under the racial laws – which did not take into account her conversion to Roman Catholicism[1][2] – she died at Auschwitz at the age of 39. Némirovsky is best known for the posthumously published Suite française

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi RT. good to hear from you.

Yes, I did know her background which is unbelievably tragic. There were many Jewish converts to Christianity, but were ousted from the churches due to their Jewish heritage. Barbaric.

I have not read Suite Francaise, but I have the book and will read it, hopefully before the year is out.