Irène Némirovsky: David Golder (David Golder)


The latest addition to my website is Irène Némirovsky‘s David Golder (David Golder). It tells the story of a ruthless businessman in 1920s France, who specialises in oil. We see him outwitting, often by devious means, his competitors but also his colleagues. He has a large house in Biarritz, where his wife, Gloria, and daughter, Joyce, spend much of their time. When he joins them, they are only really interested in his money and keep asking for more, all the while complaining of poverty. Joyce has as her boyfriend an impoverished Russian prince and wants to go to Madrid with him, and wants her father to buy a car for her to do so, though she already has a car. When he falls ill, his wife is worried that he might die but her worry is not because of his well being but because he might not have left enough money for her old age. She persuades the doctor to lie about his heart problem, so that he can go on working and make enough money for her old age. However, soon after he recovers, things go drastically wrong and he is left almost bankrupt. His wife goes off with her lover and his daughter, who has persuaded her father to buy a car before he went bankrupt, has gone off to Madrid with her prince. But now he has a chance to make a killing in a negotiation over Soviet oilfields but there is a risk that, if he does so, the stress might be too much for his heart. It is a well-told story with virtually no-one coming out of it in a positive light. In short, virtually all the characters are greedy and will do whatever it takes to get money

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