The Misunderstanding by Irène Némirovsky

The Misunderstanding

It turns out Wikipedia had me fooled (but honestly, I should have known better)! 😀 When I came up with the order for my Irène Némirovsky year-long project, I referred the publication years given on Wikipedia for Irène’s books. According to Wikipedia The Misunderstanding by Irène Némirovsky was published in 1930. However, it turns out it is the republication year. The Misunderstanding is Irène’s debut novel, which first got published in 1924! 🙂

For a debut, The Misunderstanding is remarkable. Irène had been twenty-one-years-old when she wrote the novel, so the story is simple enough, and it is about love – not just between two individuals, but also for France, the country which Irène loved as her own until it betrayed her two decades later in her hour of need.

Denis is a beautiful young wife with a wealthy husband and an adorable daughter (named France!). She is also the only child of an affluent industrialist. All her life Denis has been surrounded by men who would spoil her, but now she is bored and looking for a distraction.

Yves is a friend of Denis’s husband who was once well-off. World War I wiped out Yves’ inheritance, and now he has to earn a living, although he hasn’t given up on luxuries that he no longer can afford.

They may seem like they come from different worlds – Yves with his new found financial pressures and Denis without a care for the world. However, when Denis and Yves meet for the first time during a glorious summer holiday by the seaside, there is a spark between them. From the moment Yves laid his eyes on Denis, Yves is taken by her. Denis, in return, falls passionately in love with Yves. But can their love survive the mournful post-war Paris autumn?

The Misunderstanding is the third book by Irène Némirovsky I read, and I must add that I’m seeing a pattern here! In three of Irène’s stories (David Golder, Le Bal, and The Misunderstanding), the wives are striking beauties who are married to wealthy men, and they each have one daughter! This recurring theme, as I have noted before, must have stemmed from Irène’s parents’ marriage and her life, and I wonder if her other novels will also be the same.



  1. I have had Suite française on my bookshelf for years, and hope to get to it soon. Your project for the year is inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve tried this before – picking an author and reading all his/ her books in a year. But I never had 100% success rate! 😀 (Daphne du Maurier: read 14 books out of 20, Gabriel García Márquez: read 13 books out of 16) Hopefully, this year will be different. 🙂


  2. What a great project, I love Irene Nemirovsky! I’ve only read Suite Francaise and the Courilof Affair – would be nice to do it in order and go back to the beginning. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I started the project, I didn’t know what to expect. But Irène Némirovsky is a good writer. Suite Francaise is going to be my November read, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it. 😀


  3. […] I believe that Irène Némirovsky’s inspiration for her writing came through her life. In The Misunderstanding, the main character is a beautiful adulterer married to a wealthy man, just like Irène’s […]


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