The Dogs and the Wolves, By Irène Némirovsky

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

First published in 1940, Némirovsky's novel takes its redolent title from the French expression for dusk "entre chien et loup": a time when our perceptions dim.

The novel opens in a Ukranian city, home to branches of the Sinner family. Wealthy Sinners live on top of the hill, the poor relations near the river. When both families decamp to pre-war Paris their paths cross, largely thanks to the arc of a passionate love affair.

As in Suite Française, questions of assimilation, both individual and collective, lie at the heart of the novel. Its free-spirited heroine, Ada, is left choosing between Harry, the pretty, petted son of a rich financier, and Ben, a "macher" from the same shtetl. Sandra Smith is Némirovsky's all-seeing translator.

Comments