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The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by Her Daughter

Elisabeth Gille. Marina Harss, trans.
Publisher New York Review Books  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5 x 0.55 inches
ISBN 9781590174449
Pages/Publication Date 239/2011
Daedalus Item Code 38399
This item is not available.
Only five when the Gestapo arrested her mother, Élisabeth Gille grew up remembering almost nothing of her. Irčne Némirovsky was a name, a once-popular novelist, a Russian émigré from an immensely rich family, a Jew who didn't consider herself one and who even contributed to collaborationist periodicals, and a woman who died in Auschwitz because she was a Jew. To her daughter she was a tragic enigma and a stranger. It was to come to terms with that stranger that Gille wrote her mother's memoirs for her in this book. The first part of The Mirador, from 1929 (the year David Golder made Némirovsky famous), takes us back to Irčne's difficult childhood in Kiev and St. Petersburg. Her father is doting, her mother a beautiful monster, while Irčne herself is bookish and self-absorbed. There are pogroms and riots, parties and excursions, then revolution, from which the family flees to France, a country of "moderation, freedom, and generosity," where at last she is happy. Some 13 years later Irčne picks up her pen again. Everything has changed—abandoned by friends and colleagues, she lives in the countryside and waits for the inevitable knock on the door. First published in 1992, a decade before the reappearance of Suite Française made Némirovsky famous once more (something Gille did not live to see), The Mirador is a haunted and a haunting book, both an unflinching reckoning with a tragic past and a triumph of imagination and love.

"The Mirador approaches the ambiguity in Némirovsky's life and work in a profound and empathetic way. Gille is not interested in defending her mother's reputation. Instead, she sets out to live in her mother's head."—Alice Kaplan

"Gille, who spent World War II in hiding and later became a book editor in France, manages to conjure up a vivid, believable picture of her mother's inner life as well as the tumultuous world that shaped her.... The book stands as a nuanced, eloquent portrait of a complicated woman."—Washington Post

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