Read The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky Online

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From the author of the bestselling Suite Française.In 1903 Léon M - the son of two Russian revolutionaries - is given the responsibility of 'liquidating' Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, the notoriously brutal and cold-blooded Russian Minister of Education, by the Revolutionary Committee. The assassination, he is told, must take place in public and be carried out in the mFrom the author of the bestselling Suite Française.In 1903 Léon M - the son of two Russian revolutionaries - is given the responsibility of 'liquidating' Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, the notoriously brutal and cold-blooded Russian Minister of Education, by the Revolutionary Committee. The assassination, he is told, must take place in public and be carried out in the most grandiose manner possible in order to strike the imagination of the people.Posing as his newly appointed personal physician, Léon M takes up residence with Courilof in his summer house in the Iles and awaits instructions. But over the course of his stay he is made privy to the inner world of the man he must kill - his failing health, his troubled domestic situation and, most importantly, the tyrannical grip that the Czar himself holds over all his Ministers, forcing them to obey him or suffer the most deadly punishments.Set during a period of radical upheaval in European history, The Courliof Affair is an unsparing observation of human motives and the abuses of power, an elegy to a lost world and an unflinchingly topical cautionary tale....

Title : The Courilof Affair
Author :
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ISBN : 9780099493983
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 172 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Courilof Affair Reviews

  • Orsodimondo
    2019-03-06 10:10

    MI PIACE QUESTA SOLITUDINE IRRINUNCIABILESecondo incontro con Irène Némirovsky, nel mio personale gradimento appena al di sotto del precedente.Anche questa volta il personaggio protagonista è un uomo: dalla sonnacchiosa provincia francese (che però era il classico fuoco sotto la cenere) si passa agli ambienti della diaspora rivoluzionaria russa a inizio Novecento, per concentrare l’azione tra Pietroburgo e la costa di fronte alla Finlandia.Attentati, terrorismo, rivolte di piazza, brutale repressione, soldati che sparano sulla folla (studenti), trame di palazzo, spie, traditori, e quant’altro – ma anche, e soprattutto, personaggi compositi, sentimenti che cambiano, sfaccettature dell’anima. Atmosfera cupa, senso di predestinazione. Un pezzo di storia che si suppone Nèmirovsky conoscesse bene. Se così non fosse, supplisce perfettamente col suo talento, che riesce a cambiare latitudini, ambienti sociali, periodi storici risultando sempre credibile e avvincente.I due protagonisti portano entrambi nel corpo una malattia letale in fase di sviluppo – come la Russia degli zar sta per lasciare il posto a ben altro assetto sociale. Kurilov avvolge il suo corpo malato e cela il suo male in divise dal taglio impeccabile che lo rendono austero, temibile, irraggiungibile.Feste e balli di corte per tessere trame di tradimento, delazione, distruzione dell’amico-nemico.Sempre belle le luci in cui Némirovsky avvolge i suoi personaggi. E rimane a lungo nello sguardo della memoria la scena dei corpi degli studenti uccisi stesi sulle barelle e portati fuori dall’università.

  • Pascale
    2019-03-25 11:17

    In my view, this novel deals with some of the same material as "The Sympathizer", but so much better! This is the story of a second-generation terrorist, a boy who has seen his father deported and his mum die of untreated tuberculosis in the service of the revolution. Brought up to throw bombs by a doctor cum lunatic, Léon's first assignment is to execute Valerian Courilof, the minister of education under Tsar Nicholas II. Léon easily infiltrates the minister's household, but from there on things become much trickier as he soon realizes that his target is not the robotic monster he expected. After an unhappy marriage to a well-connected woman whose friends secured his political career, Courilof has taken the bold step of marrying his French mistress, a former actress and high-class prostitute who is utterly devoted to him. On another front, Courilof exhibits the same sort of courage by carrying on with his tasks in spite of suffering from advanced liver cancer. Léon can't help sympathizing with this man who is both petty and heroic, childishly ambitious yet resolute to be true to his life partner even if it costs him the Tsar's favor. When Courilof is briefly sacked from his post because the court disapproves of his wife, Léon breathes a sigh of relief, hoping he won't have to hasten the old man's end. Ironically, Courilof plays a trick on his successor, thereby insuring both his own return to power and his murder at the hands of Léon, who can't quite withdraw himself from the plot. The reader is given to understand that after this baptism of fire, Léon became a cog in the new régime, without ever completely believing either in the goals or the methods of his chiefs and comrades. A much sparer book than "The Sympathizer", this novel shows Némirovsky at her best. We see exactly why the crafty but principled Courilof is not an easy man to condemn to death out of hand, and the futility of risking his own life to kill a man who is dying anyway gives the story great poignancy.

  • Kirsty
    2019-03-01 13:04

    I absolutely love Nemirovsky’s work, and will happily read any of her novels or novellas. In fact, I will happily read anything which she turned her talented hand to. Throughout The Courilof Affair, her writing is beautiful and its flow is marvellous, even in translation. Sandra Smith, who was responsible for rendering the novel into English, has done a wonderful job.The premise of The Courilof Affair would have attracted me even if I had not read any of Nemirovsky’s other work. It begins in 1903, and deals with the son of Russian revolutionaries, who is given the responsibility of ‘liquidating Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, the notoriously brutal and cold-blooded Russian Minister of Education… Insinuating himself into Courilof’s household by becoming his physician, Leon M takes up residence at Courilof’s summer house in the Iles and awaits instructions. But over the course of his story he is made privy to the inner world of the man he must kill – his failing health, his troubled domestic situation and, most importantly, the tyrannical grip that the Czar himself holds over all his ministers, forcing them to obey him or suffer the most deadly punishments’.The Courilof Affair is protagonist Leon M’s autobiography of sorts, and it is told in retrospect from his own perspective. His narrative voice flows well, and feels ultimately believable. Nemirovsky gets across the fact that he is an anguished soul from the very beginning. One of Nemirovsky’s strongest skills, as far as I am concerned, is the way in which she captures scenes and characters. With one sweep of her pen, she creates the most vivid of images, and builds up beautiful and striking views before the very eyes.The Courilof Affair is a novel about terrorism and its effects. It has been based upon real-life events which have been fictionalised. It is certainly well imagined in this respect, and has a definite ghostly echo of the awful, repressive situations which occurred in Russia both at the time in which the novel was written, and earlier. As Nemirovsky does so marvellously in all of her books, she challenges perceptions throughout. Her use of dual identity works well, and the book is rendered in an eminently human manner. The story is a wise one, and it is entirely relevant to the world in which we live.

  • Fabio Pontiggia
    2019-03-13 10:28

    Sfumature di grigioGrazie a questo breve romanzo, incentrato su un assassinio politico nella Russia al confine tra zarismo e rivoluzione, abbiamo la possibilità di avere una sconcertante rivelazione: il mondo, checché se ne dica, non è un ambiente manicheo. Tra bianco e nero esistono delle sfumature di grigio, nientemeno!: le persone cattive hanno dei lati buoni, e viceversa. Collateralmente, veniamo edotti sulla complessità dei piani dei ribelli - la Morte Nera ha un punto debole...no, mi sto confondendo. Dicevo, la complessità dei piani dei rivoluzionari - ecco, meglio - ovvero trovare un finto-vero medico di nazionalità straniera, in realtà figlio di genitori russi e rivoluzionari, da affiancare al politico nel mirino, un ministro che, caso vuole, è solito inserire nel necessaire da viaggio proprio un medico straniero. Il piano prevede anche una lunga permanenza di tale finto-vero medico, e vero-vero esecutore designato, presso detto ministro, giusto il tempo di scoprire l'esistenza delle sfumature di cui sopra, e iniziare a comprendere e in parte compatire il bersaglio. Fortunatamente il positivo risultato del piano ci viene comunicato all'inizio della narrazione: la tensione sarebbe stata troppa senza questo auto-spoiler.Sufficienza stiracchiata, la Némirovsky si salva solo grazie al suo stile sempre piacevole e al bonus-Calasso ( che nell'indecisione fa propendere per il giudizio più alto ).Colonna sonora per accostamento tematico - e per risollevare un po' il morale - con i Fates Warning dell'immenso A Pleasant Shade of Gray ( diciamo la parte II, è un'unica canzone di oltre 50 minuti ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6PiM...

  • Bastet
    2019-03-10 10:25

    El caso Kurílov no está a la altura de Suite francesa, la obra maestra de Irène Némirovsky, ni de la extraordinaria El baile, pero esta escritora es un valor seguro, nunca defrauda. A pesar de que he encontrado bastantes inconsistencias (¿cómo es que León M. sabe tanto de medicina si no es médico?; ¿quién es Schwann, a quien se menciona únicamente en el último capítulo?, etc.), es un magnífico relato sobre los meses previos al atentado contra el ministro de Instrucción Pública de Rusia, Kurílov. La acción se sitúa a principios del siglo XX, cuando la Rusia zarista está dando sus últimos coletazos. La progresiva humanización del terrorista asignado para matar al ministro pone de manifiesto la fragilidad de sus convicciones. Un sentimiento que León desconocía que pudiera albergar, la compasión, le hace replantearse el ideario revolucionario. La conversación del capítulo inicial entre León M. y el policía al servicio de Kurílov que lo siguió, es soberbia. La traducción es impecable, pero la edición está un tanto descuidada.

  • Davide Nole
    2019-03-02 11:21

    Tutto sommato un libro molto carino, ma non posso dire che rientri nell'olimpo dei libri bellissimi.Avendo letto la trama su internet, mi aspettavo qualcosa di più movimentato, trattando di una storia di attentati. Lo stile è, tuttavia, molto pittoresco, particolareggiato, molto calmo e rilassato. La cosa all'inizio mi ha un po' fatto storcere il naso, perché non potevo sopportare che la storia di un assassinio politico fosse così narrata, ma a lungo andare mi ha convinto e sono riuscito ad apprezzare (forse) il perché della scelta dell'autrice.In realtà ho letto questo libro solamente per capire se l'autrice potesse interessarmi e colpirmi, dato che punto a Suite Francese. Diciamo quindi che Irene si è guadagnata un posto negli autori di cui voglio sicuramente leggere anche altro.

  • Debbie Robson
    2019-03-06 11:08

    Irene Nemirovsky is one of my favourite novelists and that’s not just because she is an excellent writer but also because of the life experiences she draws from for her fiction. She is unlike nearly all the authors I read in that respect who are predominantly Australian, British or American. She was a Russian Jew that grew up in Kiev and spent a year in Finland before the family made their way to France to escape the Russian revolution. Later as a married woman with two daughters she was a first hand witness to the invasion of France by Germany and spent some time in a small village in the south of France trying to escape the Nazi regime. Unfortunately for us she failed. Fortunately though her wonderful manuscript Suite Francaise (literally written on the run) survived. All her major works have now been translated and people like me can discover a world very alien to our own. There is Paris and the woods in Finland in “The Wine of Solitude”, the lives of the poor in a Jewish quarter in a Ukrainian City early in the 20th Century in “The Dogs and the Wolves”, the story of two lovers living in Issy L'Eveque, a Burgundy village in “Fire in the Blood”, and the life of a devoted servant in Moscow and Paris in the small masterpiece “Snow in Autumn”, to name but a few.In “The Courilof Affair” we enter another world again, this time that of a hated Russian Minister of Education the target of revolutionaries in 1903. Leon M (now dying) recounts how the assassination came about. He details his life as the son of a terrorist - his mother being in charge of a Swiss terrorist group, “the one that took care of me and raised me after she died.” In Nice during the final year of his life he writes (in a wonderful example of characterisation) “Why do I sit here looking at the flowers and the sea? I hate nature. I have only ever been happy in cities, and on the streets in summer, when it’s hot where I walk by strange faces and weary bodies. These are the hours I wish to kill, when solitude and silence surge up, when the last of the cars are returning from Monte Carlo along the coast road. Since I became ill, I am overwhelmed by memories. Before I used to work. But my work is finished now.”Through Leon’s eyes we learn about the life of Courilof, a very different personality from Leon and the house at the Iles. “Courilof’s house was built at the very edge, in a place called La Fleche, which looked out over the entire coast of Finland; here, the setting sun shimmered all night long during the month of May, bathing everything in its brilliant silvery light. Thin birch trees and miniature firs grew in the spongy soil, full of dark, stagnant water. Never have I seen so many mosquitoes. In the evening, a whitish mist settled around the houses as thick clouds of them flew in from the marshes.” What a marvellous description and I’m guessing inspired partly by Nemirovsky’s first hand experience or family knowledge of the area. Employed as the house physician Leon quickly learns about his target and the household. When an elderly Jewess visits the minister to ask for his help he is disgusted by her. “I tried to imagine his thoughts, but when he opened his eyes, his face was impenetrable once more. I remember thinking about the elderly Jewess; her absurd gesture had revealed such depths of despair, ignorance and poverty. And on that day, I don’t know why, but for the first time the idea of murdering this pompous fool filled me with horror.” And so the stage is set! An enjoyable, challenging read.

  • Núria
    2019-03-11 15:02

    Yo ya comprendo que no todas las obras de Irène Némirovsky pueden ser tan perfectas como 'Suite francesa', pero es que en mi opinión 'El baile', aunque de una forma totalmente distinta, sí que es tan perfecta como 'Suite francesa', y 'David Golder' y 'El ardor de la sangre' son dos novelitas notables e intensísimas, pero es que 'El caso Kurilov' me ha parecido de una sosería insoportable. Es como si Némirovsky la hubiera escrito con el piloto automático, poniendo buena parte de su buen oficio pero sin ni una pizca de pasión, esperando terminarla y embolsarse el dinerito para pagar unos cuantos meses más de alquiler. Por supuesto que no hay nada de malo en intentar ganarse la vida como una buenamente pueda, pero podrían avisar. Pues no, no avisan. Todas las críticas que he podido leer alaban este librito y lo que más destacan es lo interesante que es el retrato de la Russia pre-comunista que hace, cuando por vaga que sea la noción que el lector tenga de los terroristas revolucionarios y las intrigas en la corte del zar los hechos que relata este librito no le depararán ni la más mínima sorpresa. 'El caso Kurilov' está bien escrito, no digo que no, el problema es que aunque está narrado en primera persona se nota muchísimo que es un libro "en tercera persona", sobre hechos con los que la autora en realidad no siente ninguna implicación personal. Quizás es que tengo demasiado fresco el buen recuerdo que me dejó la lectura de 'El caballo amarillo. Diario de un terrorista ruso' de Boris Savinkov, novela autobiográfica y que tiene toda la intensidad, el spleen y la desesperanza que no tiene 'El caso Kurilov'. El caso es que en la novela de Némirovsky la trama es previsible (a un revolucionario le encargan asesinar a un ministro del zar y por eso se introducirá en su casa como médico) y los personajes son tan arquetípicos y tan planos que es imposible llegarse a interesar lo más mínimo por ellos. La descripción psicológica que realmente es el punto fuerte de Némirovsky como escritora, brilla por su ausencia en esta ocasión. Es todo realmente muy soso. Es una de aquellas novelas que se leen rápido pero que cuando se terminan una se da cuenta que nunca han llegado ni a rozarle la epidermis.

  • Gerald Camp
    2019-03-26 12:06

    Fascinating, off-beat book. Set in pre-revolution Russia, the plot is set in the first sentence: "In 1903, the Revolutionary Committee gave me the responsibility of liquidating Courilof." The protagonist, writing in 1931, tells about how, in order to carry out his assignment, he embedded himself into the household of Courilof, the Minister of Education in the reign of Nicholas II, as his personal physician. In the months he lived with Courilof, he saw him daily, often sleeping in the same room. He came to despise Courilof, nicknamed the "Killer Whale," but also got to know him as a human being, seeing, in addition to his viciousness, his devotion to his second wife and other glimpses of decency, so that when the time approached for the assassination, he found himself unable to fulfill his assignment. The novel shows, surprisingly, the human beings behind the terrorist assassin, on the one hand, and the evil minister of the tzar, on the other.

  • Charmie
    2019-03-14 14:29

    One word : disappointment!I was looking for "Suite française", it wasn't available at the library so I took this instead to experience Nemirovsky's writing. It's not...bad per se, it's just not very interesting. It's vaguely a murder mystery, quite short, very easy to read, with flat characters I couldn't relate to. Very few surprises in this quite monotonous storyline. The writing is nothing special, not what I expected. In my opinion it's more or less the literary equivalent of an episode of CSI (you know the whole thing will both happen and be resolved within 45 minutes, two commercial breaks included).

  • Julie
    2019-03-16 16:21

    I'm not sure if it's the writing, or simply the translation that causes this novel to feel lacking. Written as a memoir, the plot unfolds as is expected and dictated at the onset. A short little book with a big theme... what is justice. Set in pre-revolution Russia, it is the memoir of an assassin, sent to kill the Minister of Education. With bloodshed on both sides, it's difficult to see who is right, and who is wrong... just like in real life. It's a sobering story, but not something to relish and reread.

  • Bert
    2019-03-04 14:07

    So on one hand this is a delicate and grim character study, not in the least romantic, though if like me you like these things peppered with descriptions of rain on the streets or the first blooms of Spring or something you get plenty of that kind of thing too, but this is also a philosophical treatise on the hypocrisy, morality, and uselessness of terrorism and revolution, which really takes a lot of smarts to do well. Nemirovsky turned out to be a pretty sweet discovery for me this year..

  • Myriam
    2019-03-20 14:31

    'Wat een slachthuis is zo'n revolutie! Is het dat waard? Eigenlijk is niets wat waard, het leven niet en de rest ook niet.'

  • Pamela Stadden
    2019-02-27 15:14

    very good

  • Salvatore
    2019-03-23 13:09

    Némirovsky does espionage. Conrad's Secret Agent kept coming to mind, even though there aren't so many parallels.

  • Paolo Nardi
    2019-03-17 11:13

    http://speloncalibro.blogspot.it/2013...

  • Derek Emerson
    2019-02-28 15:24

    Nemirovsky's short novel gives a fascinating look inside the life of a Russian revolutionary assassin and his intended victim. While the assassin works his way into Courilof's inner circle he finds that his target is not that different from the rest of humanity. At times attracted and at times repulsed by Courilof, he makes the error that all enemies want to avoid -- seeing their opposition as human.

  • Edith
    2019-02-24 16:06

    The Doubting Terrorist: The Courilof Affair by Irène NémirovskyAbridged version of my review posted on Edith’s Miscellany on 19 September 2013Russia is a huge country with a rich history. Lamentably, it has also been a history of recurring violence. Outside Russia little is known today of the forerunners of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and the victims on either side. The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky is a fictitious novel based on real events of Russian history. In 1931 the first-person narrator León M. feels the urge to write down the true account of a fatal bomb attack in St. Petersburg in which he was involved in 1903. When he is twenty-two, the revolutionary committee to which his mother belonged until her death charges him with the liquidation of Valerian Alexandrovitch Courilof, the Minister of Education under the last Russian Tsar Nikolai II. In St. Petersburg León M. lives under the name of Marcel Legrand, a doctor of medicine from Geneva, and goes into service with Courilof for the summer. The more he knows about the real Courilof the more he perceives him as a human being. He instructed assassin is plunged into an inner conflict about his task, but there are still a few months left to sort things out.Irène Némirovsky managed to write the invented autobiography of a political assassin in tsarist Russia without demonizing or canonizing anybody along the way. The first-person narrator unfolds the whole story in the matter-of-fact language of someone who has long done with the past. The depicted characters are human beings with strengths and weaknesses like people in the real world around us. They have hopes and fears, they have desires and aversions, they have a conscience and they have a past which moulded them. The atmosphere of tsarist St. Petersburg just after 1900 feels very authentic and the plot which is modelled after history seems very realistic.All things considered, The Courilof Affair by Irène Némirovsky has been an interesting and rewarding read. She was a great author. How many more wonderful novels could she have finished, hadn’t she been deported to Auschwitz by the blind followers of fanatics and hadn’t she died a senseless death in the concentration camp like too many others.For the full review please click here to go to the post on my blog Edith’s Miscellany.

  • Wayne
    2019-03-25 14:06

    Denise Epstein, the eldest daughter of the author Irene Nemirovskydescribed her mother as "having a cruel perspective".This "cruel perspective" did not grow out of personal crueltybut out of facing up to cruel experiences and and accepting harsh realities.She did not shun or pretend about Life but bit the hard bullet of Reality.Her writings reflect this as she probes the complexity of characterand of situation, both often unsavoury.This novel leaves plenty of scope for such a perspective,dealing as it does with Terrorism and Revolution during the last years of Imperialist Russia,the struggle between government and rebels often for the minds and souls of the Young.Here a former terrorist, Leon, reflects on how as a young manhe was selected to assassinate an important and infamous political figure, Courilof. That year was 1903 and now in his fifties and dying he recalls the past. Gaining entry to Courilof's household as his personal physician,he is able to see both the public and private life of his quarry, the Minister of Education,cruel, ambitious and hungry for military honours.Yet here also is his young son and older daughter and his second wife, a French actress,for whom he has risked much to marry, even the disapproval of the Tsar. Leon comes to see there are two sides to the coin,that even his own hatred can be tempered as he sees there is much moreto his victim than he could have imagined.Finally he realises he cannot carry out his orders for assassnation. Nemirovsky's own words reveal the turbulent times she lived throughboth in her disturbing home life and in the wider world.A shy person she reflected that "I have never known peaceful times. I've always lived in anxiety and often in danger."So often her characters find their personal and public lives to be a meshing of these spheres in danger, fear, violence, hardship and social turmoil.That Irene drew on her own experiences and feelings comes through in her remark that "only the blood of an old wound can give colour to a work of art in the right way."She is often criticised because her characters are not 'likeable'. But it is not the purpose of Literature to be 'nice' but to broaden the reader's world and experienceby exposing them to characters and situations they may never have the opportunity or misfortune to encounter ; thus we can actually come to empathise, understand and even admire those whom it is easier to judge superficially by relying on gossip and appearance and prejudice alone.

  • piperitapitta
    2019-02-24 13:01

    Anatomia di un omicidio.Ho molto amato questa insolita (almeno per quanto letto finora) Irène Némirovsky.Dalla fredda e nevosa Svizzera, dove inizia il romanzo, alla fredda e nevosa Russia, dove tutto si compie: quello che mi ha affascinata di più sono i paesaggi, anche umani, i colori, accesi e allo stesso tempo monotoni, i suoni, assordanti e allo stesso tempo ovattati.Sul finire dei suoi giorni, il rivoluzionario russo Léon M., rievoca i fatti che portarono all'assassinio di Valerian Aleksandrovic Kurilov, il Ministro della Pubblica Istruzione dello zar.Siamo a ridosso della Rivoluzione di Ottobre, in quegli anni di grande fermento che la precedono: è il 1903 quando Léon M., sotto falsa identità, assume l'incarico del dottor Legrand in casa di Kurilov.Trascorrerà nella casa del ministro un anno intero, passato in gran parte nella dacia di famiglia, durante il quale avrà modo di imparare a conoscere l'uomo ancor più che il personaggio pubblico.Nell'arco di quell'anno i suoi sentimenti passeranno continuamente dall'odio al rispetto, dalla compassione all'irritazione, dalla speranza di un ritiro dalla scena pubblica al desiderio di vendetta con un'azione eclatante.Irène Némirovsky penetra nei sentimenti dell'uno e dell'altro con decisione, tenerezza, crudeltà e passione, dando vita ad un romanzo breve che trasmette tormento e vigore con grande intensità.L'immedesimazione è così forte che in alcuni momenti sembrerà veramente di sentire il calore del pallido sole di Giugno alle Isole, o il vento sferzante a San Pietroburgo, o di vedere lo sfavillio dei gioielli delle cortigiane o i colori accesi delle tende di velluto nella splendida villa di Kurilov.I nostri sentimenti nei confronti del pescecane, così come è soprannominato dai suoi detrattori e dagli avversari, saranno gli stessi del rivoluzionario: odio, pietà, commiserazione, irritazione, continueranno ad altalenarsi fino alla fine, che arriverà lenta e inesorabile.Irène Nèmirovsky dipinge un libro con le parole, ed è un piacere poterle toccare con gli occhi e con il cuore.

  • Tim
    2019-03-02 14:29

    Yet another gem of a book from the author of Suite Francaise. This story has a real resonance with the final days of Tsarist Russia, and focuses on a developing relationship between The terrorist groomed to assasinate Courilof the Minister of Education under Emporer Nicolas II, when working as his medical attendant in St Petersburg.From an original stance of pure hatred the code named Leon M learns of the savage grip that the despotic Emperor holds over his ministers on government policy but also on their moral codes, that has an all pervading desire for them to continually court favour, and retain power from ambitious rivals.As riots among students increase, with the resulting savage reprisals carried out by the Tsarist regime, the deluded and terminal ill Courilof at first tolerates his new companion and then grows to trust him as a confidant to the minutiae of his life as both his career and life peeters out. When the time comes to conceal and throw the hand held bomb, with his Revoltionary colleage Fanny, at the Minister and his entourage he is unable to fulfil his mission and Fanny completes the fatal attack.Nemirovsky is a master at building the story layer upon layer, in an even handed way arguing the individual stances of the characters, and engaging the reader with a broad understanding of the spirit of the turbulent times at the beginning of the 20th century where the origins of modern day terrorism began. As will all of her books thoroughly recommended.

  • La Stamberga dei Lettori
    2019-02-27 12:11

    Il breve libro della sfortunata scrittrice russa, figlia di un ricco banchiere ebreo ucraino - per stare in uno dei migliori clichè dell'antisemitismo storico -, sfuggita alle persecuzioni del comunismo stalinista per trovare la morte nel 1942 nel lager nazista di Auschwitz, racconta la storia della relazione che si sviluppa tra un terrorista infiltrato dal Partito Comunista russo e la sua vittima designata, un ministro dello zar.Sotto le mentite vesti di un medico svizzero, Leon M. si infiltra nella vita privata, famigliare e domestica, del ministro della pubblica istruzione di Nicola II, Valerian Kurilov. Lev M., agente sovversivo dell'internazionale comunista, figlio di un terrorista morto nelle carceri zariste in Siberia e di una pasionaria attivista, vive fin da bambino la vita del rivoluzionario: vede morire la madre, fervente adepta del primo comunismo, di tubercolosi, come anche due suoi fratellini piccoli, e viene allevato nell'incrollabile fede insurrezionalista da un membro del partito in Svizzera, rifugio accogliente e neutrale di plutocrati sanguinari e altrettanto agguerriti marxisti.Continua suhttp://ghettodeilettori.blogspot.com/...

  • Ricardo
    2019-02-25 08:03

    Intrigas, historias develadas años después, el frío y oscuro mundo de los inicios de la caida del Zar en Rusia pre-revolucionaria. Hasta ahora vamos bien. (Pág. 108).Bueno...Hoy lo terminé y me encontré con una buena novela que humaniza a los personajes. Por una parte, Legrand, un infiltrado con la misión de asesinar al ministro de educación de Nicolás II, Vladimir Kurílov (o Kuriloff), un personaje tirano, extrema derecha y principal adorador del Zar. Mientras va conviviendo con Kurilov, más lo va conociendo y descubriendo su parte humana. Así, puede ver que, aunque muy tirano, también ama a su mujer en una relación censurada por el Zar, y la defiende (a su mujer y su relación) hasta el grado de elegir su matrimonio a su puesto. Legrand, al ver todo esto, duda de su misión. Novela rescatada del olvido y los borrones de la historia. Irene Némirovksy, antes de ser asesinada en Auschwitz, lega su obra a sus hijas en una maleta, que no fueron sino hasta muchos años después (2004) que vieron la luz. De novela misma, no creen?

  • Syrdarya
    2019-03-11 09:31

    In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Russian revolutionaries resorted to assassinations - and a lot of them - to help kill the old regime. The Courilof Affair is the story of one fictional revolutionary, the son of revolutionaries who was raised to be a part of the cause. His story is told from his perspective as an older man living in France under the name Leon M. In 1903 he was sent to infiltrate the home of the Minister of Education in Imperial Russia, Valerian Courilof, and await the order to kill the man. He begins to feel sympathy for the man, who is near death anyway, but both the members of the Tsarist regime and the revolutionaries are set on their paths....Excellent book! The setting and the characters are really brought to life. The revolutionaries are a little bit flatter as characters than the people who belong to the Imperialist side (for instance, Fanny's story is brushed off as very similar to so many other female revolutionaries' stories, but we never hear her story), but all in all this is an excellent read.

  • Yana
    2019-03-23 13:02

    Irène Némirovsky is a Russian Jew, that grew up in Kiev, spent a year in Finland before making her way to France where she build a family and home. She is an author that brings the world into your palms and leaves you wrapped in a blanket of words that need a while to settle down; to sink in and truly make sense. She makes the obvious mysterious and the mysterious mundane... What I mean by that is that she summaries her entire novel in its very first sentence, yet it kept me glued to the pages, leaving me reluctant to put the book down until I have reached the very last page. I loved discovering the human behind the terrorist assassin... It was gruesome and left me stupefied, yet I felt so connected with the topic maybe because it is so up-to-date. Sometimes, I find myself trying to justify people's evilness and The Courilof Affair helped me to a great extent. I have always been drawn to literature of such kind...https://thequidnuncblog.wordpress.com...

  • Lee
    2019-02-28 13:18

    Leon M is an old Russian Revolutionary - he was, as he says, born into the Party - both his parents were revolutionaries and after the death of his mother he was brought up by the local revolutionary committee.In old age he looks back to one of his earliest assignments - the liquidation of Courilof the ruthless Minister of Education - responsible for the arrest, exile and death of many students.In order to carry out his mission he has to gain entry to Courilof's household and as soon as he does this - he realises how much harder it is to kill a man when you know him.Courilof is not a very attractive figure - but he is not a monster - in fact we get a number of hints that Leon M was responsible for far more deaths than him after the revolution.At it's heart The Corilof affair is an exploration of the morals of revolution and terrorism and of the idea that the ends can ever justify the means.Recommended.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-11 14:29

    I must admit that I am a real fan of Irene Nemirovsky's writing (especially Suite Francaise) and this did not disappoint. Leon M is the son of exiled Russian terrorists, living in Switzerland. He is sent back to Russia to assassinate the brutal Minister of Education in as public a fashion as possible. He is planted into the Minister's house as a personal physician while awaiting instructions. As he gets to know the Minister, he becomes sympathetic to the man, until a final brutal act changes his mind. The tale is written as a memoir of an older Leon M.This is beautifully written. It looks at the misuse of power and the nature of terrorism. A fascinating read.

  • Sage
    2019-02-24 14:10

    Picked it up because of the historical setting (early 20th century Russia), and on the back of having read her other novel. An interesting piece, as a novella and the study of the themes. It just didn't quite hit the spot for me, in much the same way that Russian writers of old don't quite. Big themes wrangled into long sentences where nothing much happens. Still I'm rating it that high because the technical aspects and greater purpose seem more important than personal taste. If you like Tolstoy then it's wonderful.

  • Lupurk
    2019-03-05 16:27

    E' la prima esperienza con questa autrice e di sicuro non sarà l'ultima, la sua scrittura mi piace, è molto evocativa ed è facile lasciarsi trasportare nella lettura. Sono rimasta meno coinvolta dalla trama, ma sicuramente per colpa dell'altro libro che sto leggendo in contemporanea, che mi ha letteralmente rapita. Avrei voluto dedicare a questo libretto tutta l'attenzione che merita, ma anche così ho saputo apprezzare soprattutto il carattere riflessivo, la mancanza di un giudizio fermo, ma l'invito a saper guardare le cose da più punti di vista.

  • Päivi Brink
    2019-03-26 13:09

    Young revolutionary sets out to murder Minister Courilof in 1905 Russia, and becomes his personal doctor. But when the revolutionary gets to know Courilof, it becomes impossible for him to murder him. He bocomes too human. 200 pages seemed long, with all this resignation, sadness and tiredness. There were some really beautiful scenes, though. The writer is one of my favourites, but this is not one of her best books.