Master of Souls
Translated from the French by Sandra Smith
Praise for Irène Némirovsky
Stunning. . . . A tour de force.
—The New York Times Book Review on Suite Française
Luminous. . . . ‘Flesh and Blood’ is a masterpiece of familial subterfuge.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Dimanche and Other Stories
Stunning . . . [Némirovsky] wrote, for all to read at last, some of the greatest, most humane and incisive fiction.
—The New York Times Book Review on David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair
From the celebrated author of the international bestseller Suite Française, a novel about ambition and greed set against a backdrop of the fabulously wealthy French high society in the 1920s.
A young immigrant doctor of Italian and Greek descent, Dario Asfar, struggles to establish his practice in Paris, desperate for money to provide for his family. When he comes upon an opportunity to oblige self-indulgent French nobility, he knows well that they want to eat of the forbidden fruit without paying for the sin, and sets out to sell himself as a “master of souls,” a doctor who can miraculously cure their restless minds. This brings him great wealth and celebrity. Except he is no more than a charlatan, manipulating hopes and fleecing his wealthy patrons.
Originally written in 1939, Master of Souls sheds light on the lies we tell ourselves in the name of family and love.
Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1903 into a wealthy Jewish family and was raised in a life of privilege in Europe. After fleeing Russia during the Revolution, she immersed herself in the company of thinkers, artists, musicians, and other cultural elites as part of the Parisian literati of her time. Sixty-two years after her death, in 2004, the never-before-published Suite Française brought international acclaim to this gifted writer, whose life was tragically lost in the Holocaust.
Sandra Smith has translated thirteen of Irène Némirovsky’s novels, including Suite Française, into English. The winner of multiple awards, she has also translated works by Albert Camus, Guy de Maupassant, and Simone de Beauvoir, among many others.
Hardcover | jacketed
5.5 X 8.25 inches | 234 pages