Book 12 – David Golder by Irene Nemirovsky

NemirovskyAn intriguing tale of life within a wealthy household during the formidable 1920’s. A rags-to-riches story of greed, love, possession and manipulation. A lonely man suffering at the hands of his obnoxious wife and brat of a child. A beautifully written tale of having everything you desire but not the one thing you cherish – love and acceptance.

In all genres, there are books that either lift our spirits or leave us feeling a little flat. This book is definitely one of the latter. I was incensed by the lack of morality the main character’s family had when it came to spending all of his well-earned money. His spoilt daughter deserved a comeuppance of sorts but I was sad to read on and find she carried on regardless. It reeked of the bewildering life The Great Gatsby chose to live as he waited for his one true love. A fantastically written novel, the prose dragging you into his lonely world with every sentence you read, I didn’t think it was as good as Suite Francais but still an excellent read that just made me a bit sad. 4/5

A man who started out with nothing and, ironically, returned to his roots with nothing but death ahead of him.  Money at this stage meant nothing to him but to hand down to his offspring, though even that was wrenched away from him having been told that Joyce was not his daughter.  But, as the saying goes, you might not like them but you, as a good Jew, leave your money to them.  All that was left of DG was his Jewishness.
I couldn’t warm to the character totally and I think that was intentional but I have to say that he seemed to fall in with a bad lot.  I truly felt heart sorry for him.  This, presumably, was because his raisin d’être was money, wealth and money.  So busy making money for his family to grab off him as this was the only part of him that they seemed to be able or want to take; not his time, or his love.
I found this book so very sad. A man with huge energy but only directed in the pursuit of wealth.  Was he always so?  I’d like to think not.  I’d like to think that, if he stepped back in time, there would have been one discerning moment where he may have left the office earlier or Gloria would have had a surprise sumptuous meal awaiting his return that would have then broken the ever downward fall to estrangement.
Although I took no real delight from reading this book, its redeeming feature was the most beautiful prose.  The author is the most wonderful writer; inspiring and refreshing in her use of the descriptive language which further reinforced the dire state of the man.  A sad, sad life. 3/5

A fantastic characterisation of life in that era, wonderfully written. 4/5

I thought this was a marvellous book mainly for the quality of Nemirovsky’s writing. She has the ability to take me to the very place she’s describing and I can still feel the rain dripping down the back of my neck as I’m standing in that cemetery in Paris. Golder was surrounded by miserable men and two ghastly women which goes to prove the old adage that money can’t buy you happiness. 3.5/5

David Golder is a beautifully written book but a relentlessly bleak tale, surprisingly anti Semitic and written by a Russian Jew to boot. Golder is portrayed as the archetypal ruthless Jewish financier with no redeeming qualities whatsoever other than his unreciprocated love for his daughter. 3/5

A well written, though glum book, lacking in any warmth. It surprised me. I initially despised David Golder, but by the end I empathised a little more with him, pitying what he had become and wondering whether he was a product of his circumstances. The paraelles I was able to draw to people I currently know was a little unnerving. However, the hope I had of a sense of redemption, a happy ending or the characters ‘getting what they deserved’ didn’t quite materialise. I knew that the book lacked something and another member hit on this by describing it as ‘lacking in any spirituality’. The characters had nothing meaningful to live for, with no higher purpose or direction – other than to make and spend money. No characters seemed happy and it made life appear futile and pointless. 4/5

Total score: 34.5/50

https://wordery.com/david-golder-irene-nemirovsky-9780099493969

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About Great Big Jar

Life is like a box of chocolates - well, it would be but I ate them all! I am a writer of children's stories and rhymes. I am currently testing the waters with two new stories for 8+ and 11+ readers - a new exciting genre to sink my teeth into. Drop by and say hello www.greatbigjar.com.
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