So far, I’ve managed to pull a card for a different anthology each week, which has been lucky.
Anthology: The Persephone Book of Short Stories
Story: Dimanche by Irene Nemirovsky
Nemirovsky is most famous for her novel Suite Francaise, which was first published in 2004, 62 years after her death in Auschwitz in August, 1942. I heard of it when it was published, and it’s been on my mental TBR ever since, but this is the first thing by her that I have read.
It is a gem of story, set on a spring day in Paris. Nemirovsky was born in Ukraine, but this story feels entirely French. I have never been to Paris in the spring, but I have been there, and I can imagine that it is just like it is portrayed in this story. At the center of the story is Agnes, a middle-aged Frenchwoman who spends a Sunday alone with her 5 year old daughter, Nanette, who is a little bit under the weather.
Guillaume, her husband, has plans to spend the day in the countryside, and invites Agnes along, knowing she will decline. He is meeting his current mistress, so the invitation is not sincere and Agnes briefly considers what he would do if she said yes.
It also concerns her twenty year old daughter, Nadine, who has also made plans to meet a man. The end of the story is quite insightful, with Agnes and Nadine both reflecting on each other; Nadine with the self-centered self-assuredness of youth and Agnes, who is not nearly so oblivious as Nadine believes.
I loved the writing in this one and will make it a point to move Suite Francaise up on my TBR.