Tuesday, February 22

Book Review: Jezebel

Title: Jezebel

Author: Irène Némirovsky

Pages: 199

Summary: In a French courtroom, the trial of a woman is taking place. Gladys Eysenach is no longer young, but she is still beautiful, 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 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 author of Suite Française, Irène Némirovsky shows us the soul of a desperate woman obsessed with her lost youth.

My Rating: 7.25/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Overall, I enjoyed the book. Although it isn’t my favourite book by Némirovsky, it was still a good read, she was a talented author, with beautiful storytelling skills and this book is no exception to that. The plot may not have been a favourite of mine, but it was a well written book.

This story was interesting at first, as we see the ending, before the reader really knows the story. I enjoyed the court proceedings, and wondered how Gladys came to this point in the story. How and why she murdered the young man. The book eventually turns to her past, examining her life that leads up to the murder. It’s the bulk of the story, and focuses on Gladys’ character and development. I both liked and disliked Gladys’ character; on one hand she did what she wanted for her self, reached for her goals, and got for the most part, what she wanted in life and what made her happy. On the other hand, the same traits made her self-absorbed, vain and selfish, to the point others she loved suffered around her. Most of the time she wasn’t a very likeable character, but she did fascinate me.

The overall story isn’t one I normally like - as it focuses on a type of character I usually don’t enjoy reading about. it had a lot of the same themes as books similar to it, which I didn’t enjoy and I also found parts of the story were predictable. But overall it was still and enjoyable read. And as much as Gladys’ flawed character irked me at times, I was shouting at her to kill the young man she was accused of killing in the end. He was barely in the book, but I was glad for his quick exit. It may not have been my favourite type of story, but I still enjoyed the overall reading experience of it.

Would I recommend it to read: This was a short, light read. It’s not my favourite by the author, but I’d still recommend it. Although I don’t know if it’s a good choice for a first time experience with the author, it’s still worth reading.

What to read next: Le Bal, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Room With a View, Glimpses of the Moon


  1. I have been wanting to try something from Némirovsky fir such a long time, and have a couple of her books on my shelf. I think I would like this one also, and will have to keep an eye out for it. It's funny to me that you were gung-ho about her killing the younger man. I guess he must have been a real pill!

  2. Zibilee - I tried her once, and fell in love with her writing. I'm sure some of it is lost in the translation, but it's so well done. I recommend Suite Francaise or All Our Worldly Goods to start.