Irene Nemirovsky and the corruption of the interwar period
Irene Nemirovsky and the corruption of the interwar period

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Few authors of the so-called “rescued”, and whose work shone spectacularly in the turbulent and in many cases immoral interwar years of the last century, have produced such a quantity of studies, articles, biographies and literary criticism as Irène Némirovsky (Kiev, 1903-Auschwitz, 1942) and Stefan Zweig (Vienna, 1881-Petrópolis, 1942). What they had in common? Both were jews, they had been best sellers in their time and both simbolizarían the terrible order and persecution without mercy that would be undergoing his own during the nazi and World War II. Némirovsky, born in 1903 in Kiev, and installed next to your well-to-do family in France, fleeing from the Russian Revolution , would be deported in July 1942 and died at Auschwitz shortly after. For its part, Zweig chose to commit suicide a few months before, desperate for the future of the that had been her home, Europe, in Petrópolis, Brazil.

Praised for elements ultra-nationalists and the extreme right coming from the party Action Française, for a long time, Irène Némirovsky -to bewilderment of many – would be indulged in all their publications. The writer Brasillach, executed by firing squad at the end of the war for collaboration, compare it with Chekhov. Then, bit by bit, all those anti-semitic the would drop, although there would be obliterated the accusations frequent, of those days, and later, of the tachaban self-loathing jew. An indictment that also had succumbed to the great figures such as the viennese Karl Kraus. All of this never would detract from a unique and irrefutable reality: that Irène Némirovsky was a great writer, comparable to the greatest masters of French, and even russians, who had gone before.

Until the last moment of his detention in the small village of Issy – L’évêque where he had taken refuge with her two small daughters, Irène would not cease to write, feverishly and stubbornly, that they would be two masterpieces for posterity. A, the famous French Suite, which will return it to the fame 60 years after, and another, now appeared The fires of autumn. Published posthumously, in 1957, a second version would be the recently rescued, with annotations of his fist and letter, thanks to Olivier Philipponnat , who, together with Patrick Lienhart, would sign up to the splendid biography of reference (La vie d ‘ Irène Némirovsky: 1903-1942).

Family of bankers

The parables of careerists without scruples, of adventurers suicidal and finance desclasados ambitious -a topic that Irene knew perfectly, having been raised in a family of bankers – abound in the work of this great writer. Many of these shady characters took advantage of, through politics and business, the years of frantic and amoral between the wars for profit. An issue that appeared also in the recent and excellent novel from Pierre Lemaitre, see you up there (Salamander). Covered by intricate networks of corruption and scams on a large scale that dragged many of them to ruin, these arrogant maquinadores reigned in an era in which the intelligence, the knowledge or the skills they had lost all value: “What meritorious -will tell you in The fires of autumn – is to succeed when you don’t have any of those tricks to your advantage, be academic without having talent, a man of State without being able to identify the island of Java in a map, make a fortune without having worked there or roll the world while being a mediocre in all things,”

Parable of careerists without scruples, of desclasados ambitious

Another of the themes star of Némirovsky, also very attached to his biography, would be that of the poisonous relations affiliates . Something she had lived with her desaprensiva, frivolous and selfish mother, who never wanted her. Another conflict star of his stories have to do with the stories of exclusion of the protagonists (usually jews from Eastern europe) that they fought desperately to “be accepted” and become “somebody” in the society to which they had come, in this case the French.

Raw and fierce

But, in connection with The fires of autumn, Némirovsky also always had a predilection, as it would be in his magnificent novel The dogs and the wolves, as they reflect the periods confusing and many times fast-paced training and human growth and moral of young people who had touched live stages of self-destruction, as well as subsequent “rebirths” of the Story. “Do you see? -tell the lady Pain, witness of another time – are the fires of autumn. Purify the earth, preparing for the seeds. You are young. These large fires have not burned down yet in your life. But will turn on and devour many things.”

Set between the beginning of the First World War and the rapid collapse of the French Army in 1940 during the Second World War, the novel Némirovsky would show raw and fiercely, as was always his balzaquiano style, the history of the “cubs” of two families of small bourgeois of paris: the Brun and the Jacquelain. After returning from the trenches of the First World War, the trace of cynicism, of bitterness and lack of scruples make a dent in their lives and in their relationships, dumps everyone in the unbridled pursuit of success and enrichment. Bernard, Raymond and desaprensiva and beautiful Renée live your life filled with the idolatry of the speculation and the triumph at all costs. Only the time-honored Thèrese, that has not changed, will dike moral and conscience to this group of friends to that war and the corrupt society of his time has been transformed to make them unrecognizable.