The Prodigal Child by Irène Némirovsky
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Translator: Sandra Smith
A story of hope and inspiration that becomes torn in the hands of the cold and greedy, and of betrayal by the powerful over lesser ones.
Set in what was then contemporary Russia at the turn of the century, in a large port town on the Black Sea, The Prodigal Child is a story of a boy with a gift for composing poetry and songs―his inspiration drawn from within―who attracts the attention of a Princess. This wealthy and sophisticated woman rescues Baruch from his hard life, though it is one he also adores as a Jewish boy coming of age in his Orthodox Jewish community. But his freedom turns into a prison for him as he hopelessly falls in love with the Princess, who has no interest in the boy other than for the entertainment he provides her with his art. Falling deeper and yet with no rescue this time, he becomes ill and in his throes loses his gift, the very reason he had met the Princess in the first place. Of no use to her any longer, he is returned to his family to suffer tragic consequences.
Year first published: 2021