Jezebel

by Irène Némirovsky, translated by Sandra Smith

Available from Random House

A stunning novel about mothers and daughters, about vengeance, and an aging, still beautiful woman on trial for shooting her lover.
 
In a French courtroom, the trial of a woman is taking place. Gladys Eysenach is no longer young, but she remains striking, elegant, cold. She is accused of shooting dead her much-younger lover. As the witnesses take the stand and the case unfolds, Gladys relives fragments of her past: her childhood, her absent father, her marriage, her turbulent relationship with her daughter, her decline, and then the final irrevocable act. With the depth of insight and pitiless compassion we have come to expect from the acclaimed author of Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky shows us the soul of a desperate woman obsessed with her lost youth.

Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903 into a wealthy banking family and immigrated to France during the Russian Revolution. After attending the Sorbonne in Paris, she began to write and swiftly achieved success with David Golder, which was followed by more than a dozen other books. Throughout her lifetime she published widely in French newspapers and literary journals. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. More than sixty years later, Suite Française was published posthumously for the first time in 2006.