Skip to Content
The wine of solitude

The wine of solitude

Némirovsky, Irène, 1903-1942

Imbued with melancholy, and regret, this work explores the troubled relationship between a young girl, her distant, self-absorbed mother and her mother's lover, Max. We follow the family through the Great War and the Russian Revolution, as the young Hélène grows from a dreamy, unhappy child into an angry young woman

Hardback, Book. English. Fiction in translation. Autobiographical fiction.
Published London: Chatto & Windus, 2011
Rate this

Available at Central Lending.

  • Central Lending – One available in Adult Fiction

    Barcode Shelfmark Loan type Status
    34212221 Adult Fiction Adult fiction Available


Statement of responsibility: Irène Némirovsky ; translated from the French by Sandra Smith
ISBN: 0701185570, 9780701185572
Physical Description: 248 p. ; 23 cm.
Subject: Saint Petersburg (Russia) Social life and customs 20th century Fiction.; Kiev (Ukraine) Social life and customs 20th century Fiction.
Uniform Title: Vin de solitude. English

Author note

Ir?ne N?mirovksy was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became a bestselling novelist, author ofDavid Golder,Le Bal, The Courilof Affair, All Our Worldly Goodsand other works published in her lifetime or soon after, as well as the posthumously publishedSuite Fran?aiseandFire in the Blood.The Wine of Solitude(Le Vin de Solitude) was first published in France in 1935. N?mirovksy died in Auschwitz in 1942.

Sandra Smithis a fellow of Robinson College, Cambridge, and has translated all the novels of Ir?ne N?mirovksy available in English.

'Sandra Smith's translations are of the highest quality.' J.M. Coetzee,New York Review of Books


"Haunting...profound...exquisitely wrought"
Independent on Sunday||"A wonderfully atmospheric novel...captivating and searingly honest"
Guardian||"The tangle of this unhappy family is beautifully and ruthlessly analysed... The relationship between mother and daughter is described with uncompromising lucidity... N?mirovsky evokes the places of her childhood with a sensuous clarity"
Guardian||"A brilliant coming of age novel... N?mirovsky is so honest and she never fluffs a line"
Guardian, Books of the Year||"The Wine of Solitudeis an end-of-innocence story... It is N?mirovsky's powers of social observation...the implacable eye for the nuances of human conduct, that makeThe Wine of Solitudeso memorable"
Financial Times

Back cover copy

Praise for Ir?ne N?mirovksy :


'A magnificent work that its readers will cherish for as long as they still care about the art of fiction or the history of Europe ... Every page shines with both a ravishing delight in the surface of life, and a profound empathy for the souls of its characters, that raises it to the ranks of the Russian and French masters.'Independent


'It confirms N?mirovksy's brilliance as a storyteller with a deep understanding of the hidden flaws and cruelties of the human heart.'Sunday Telegraph


'Her highly distinctive style, the delicate but relentless accretion of finely observed details, produces a story in which universal cataclysm is mirrored in apparently insignificant personal destiny, to extraordinarily resonant effect.' Jane Shelling,Sunday Telegraph


'N?mirovksy was incapable of producing anything less than an enchanting novel. She has an irresistible talent for creating character and incident which makes this story as much a page-turner as anything she has written.' Carmen Callill,Guardian