"All Our Worldly Goods" by Irène Némirovsky

Reading this book sort of reminds me of the movie  "L'Heure d'été" by Olivier Assayas. As typical of French provincial stories are, they evoke a sense of modest amounts of artistry blended with sweet melancholy.

In other words, they are similar to British provincial stories, if not for the fact that the French ones are more infused with subtle emotions.

In this novel we will see how marriages were still arranged in the early 20th century, albeit the claims that European families of those days were getting more and more "contemporary" and "liberal".

The conflicts within the characters tend to run minimal. Even the tragedies, though they inflict deep scars, tend to unite the family members closer.

The way that the love runs deep between the two protagonists, Pierre and Agnes, despite the ongoing continent-wide WW2 that drafts him into the military has been depicted beautifully.

I only lament the book synopsis on the back cover which may be more directed toward contemporary US readers who are in thirst of more passionate dramas.

Consider this synopsis below:

Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations.

It sounds too American, I say. Such showy acts of passion are in fact, absent for the most part.

But overall I admire Némirovsky's beautful style of prose (albeit she was not French herself), and I look forward into reading some more of her works...

Verdict: 7 out of 10 stars

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