Hélène is a troubled young girl. Neglected by her self-absorbed mother and her adored but distant father, she longs for love and for freedom. As first the Great War and then the Russian Revolution rage in the background, she grows from a lonely, melancholy child to an angry young woman intent on destruction.
The Wine of Solitude is a powerful tale of an unhappy family in difficult times and a woman prepared to wreak a shattering revenge.
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A wonderfully atmospheric novel...captivating and searingly honest... A brilliant coming of age novel - Guardian, Books of the Year
Haunting...profound...exquisitely wrought - Independent on Sunday
The tangle of this unhappy family is beautifully and ruthlessly analysed... The relationship between mother and daughter is described with uncompromising lucidity... Némirovsky evokes the places of her childhood with a sensuous clarity - Guardian
The Wine of Solitude is an end-of-innocence story... It is Némirovsky's powers of social observation...the implacable eye for the nuances of human conduct, that make The Wine of Solitude so memorable - Financial Times
Beautifully written... Her ability to evoke the feeling of time and especially place is remarkable - Scotsman
One of the best of her early novels... it is written with luminous intensity - Evening Standard, Books of the Year
This is Nemrovsky's most autobiographical novel...recalled in hauntingly atmospheric detail - Sunday Times, Books of the Year
It's an unerring portrait of a neglected, baleful and punitive daughter - Guardian, Books of the Year
Nemirovksy captures the rootless existence of emigres beautifully - Herald
Sandra Smith's translation is mellifluous and certain passages - the opening lines describing dusk in Kiev, for example - are breathtaking - Financial Times
Némirovsky excels at describing this dysfunctional household - Independent
Sandra Smith’s translation of the novel faithfully reflects Nemirovsky’s talents as an astute portraitist and storyteller - Guardian
Nemirovsky evokes a time and a place when domestic upheaval could prove every bit as tragic and bloody as those played out on a wider stage - Independent
Irène Némirovksy 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 Française and Fire in the Blood. The Wine of Solitude (Le Vin de Solitude) was first published in France in 1935. Némirovksy died in Auschwitz in 1942.
Sandra Smith is a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, and has translated all the novels of Irène Némirovksy available in English.
'Sandra Smith's translations are of the highest quality.' J.M. Coetzee, New York Review of Books