***UK rights sold to Persephone***
Written between 1934 and 1942, this collection of short stories explores Némirovsky’s recurrent themes of mothers and daughters, memory and identity, legacy and loss.
The vicissitudes of mother–daughter relationships are most apparent in “Les rivages heureux” as well as in the title story, “Dimanche.” In both, Némirovsky examines the relationship between a young, beautiful teenage girl and her aging mother, a relationship that manifests itself in the mother’s nostalgia for the bygone days of her own youth and beauty, and with a growing jealousy of her daughter’s.
In “L’inconnu,” written during the occupation, a French soldier tells his little brother a story about when he and his troops found themselves confronted by a group of Nazi soldiers. Rather than relaying the horror of the experience, his account emphasizes its incomprehensibility.
In “Fraternité,” Némirovsky explores the troubling question of identity. A French bourgeois meets a Jewish refugee and his son in a train station. They discover that they have the same last name, Rabinovitch. To the Frenchman, the distance that he assumed was between them grows uncomfortably small.