Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky

Dimanche and Other Stories by Irene Nemirovsky (2010 in English), translated by Bridget Patterson, contains short stories written in 1934 to 1941. Many of them were published in Nemirovsky's lifetime, though the collection wasn't pulled together until after the phenomenal success of Suite Francaise.

And, frankly, the stories don't live up to Suite Francaise. The earliest stories, primarily about family relationships, especially cheating husbands and mothers and daughters who are so alike yet don't communicate at all, have a flighty feel. The later stories reflect more depth, though probably still not something I'm going to remember a few years from now.

This evolution in her writing only confirms to me what a loss her early death is to the literary world in terms of what she might have written if she had lived longer. I can only imagine her deftness at describing the final years of the war and the aftermath for France in her writing. (Which I don't mean in any way to minimize the much greater, more important loss experienced by her daughters and everyone else who loved her.)

My overall personal rating of Dimanche and Other Stories is a B-.


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