Irène Némirovsky's own life was as dramatic as any fiction. Few writers enjoy posthumous success as astonishing as hers after the international triumph of Suite Française. She was born in 1903 in Kiev to a well-off Jewish family. They fled the Russian revolution, eventually settling in France where, with the publication of David Golder in 1929 - delivered to a publisher just before the birth of her first daughter - Irène swiftly became an acclaimed and successful writer. When France fell to the Nazis, Irène and her family took refuge in a small Burgundy village, but in July 1942 she was arrested by the French police and deported to Auschwitz. Irène died a month later, aged only thirty-nine.
Her biographers take advantage of access to diaries, unpublished documents and surviving family members to examine Irène's remarkable life, from pogroms in Ukraine to gilded holidays in Biarritz, and her troubled relationship with her vain, difficult mother. The result is a brilliant portrait of an exceptional writer and of a turbulent period of European history.