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In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and ...Show synopsisIn 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion and make their way through the chaos of France; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. Nemirovsky's brilliance as a writer lay in her portrayal of people, and this is a novel that teems with wonderful characters, each more vivid than the next. Haughty aristocrats, bourgeois bankers and snobbish aesthetes rub shoulders with uncouth workers and bolshy farmers. Women variously resist or succumb to the charms of German soldiers. However, amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places. Irene Nemirovsky conceived of "Suite Francaise" as a four- or five-part novel. It was to be a symphony - her "War and Peace". Although, only two sections were finished before her tragic death, they form a book that is beautifully complete in itself, and awe-inspiring in its understanding of humanity.Hide synopsis
Suite Francaise (Knopf Canada) – Hardcover (2006)
Irene Nemirovsky, Dr. Sandra Smith (Translator)
Hardcover, Knopf Canada 2006
ISBN: 0676977707 ISBN-13: 9780676977707
Suite Francaise is both a brilliant novel of wartime and an extraordinary historical document. An unmatched evocation of the exodus from Paris after the German invasion of 1940, and of life under the Nazi occupation, it was written by the esteemed French novelist Irene Nemirovsky as events unfolded around her. This haunting masterpiece has been hailed by European critics as a War and Peace""for the Second World War. Though she conceived the book as a five-part work (based on the form of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony), Irene ...Show moreSuite Francaise is both a brilliant novel of wartime and an extraordinary historical document. An unmatched evocation of the exodus from Paris after the German invasion of 1940, and of life under the Nazi occupation, it was written by the esteemed French novelist Irene Nemirovsky as events unfolded around her. This haunting masterpiece has been hailed by European critics as a War and Peace""for the Second World War. Though she conceived the book as a five-part work (based on the form of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony), Irene Nemirovsky was able to write only the first two parts, "Storm in June "and "Dolce," before she was arrested in July 1942. She died in Auschwitz the following month. The manuscript was saved by her young daughter Denise; it was only decades later that Denise learned that what she had imagined was her mother's journal was in fact an invaluable work of art. "Storm in June" takes place in the tumult of the evacuation from Paris in 1940, just before the arrival of the invading German army. It moves vividly between different levels of society-from the wealthy Pericand family, whose servants pack up their possessions for them, to a group of orphans from the 16th arrondissementescaping in a military truck. Nemirovsky's immense canvas includes deserting soldiers and terrified secretaries, cynical bank directors and hapless priests, egotistical writers and hardscrabble prostitutes-all thrown together in a chaotic attempt to escape the capital. Moving between them chapter by chapter, this thrilling novel describes a journey hampered and in some cases abandoned because of confusion, shelling, rumour, lack of supplies, bad luck and ordinary human weakness. Cars break down or are stolen; relatives are forgotten; friends are divided; but there are also moments of love and charity. Throughout, whether depicting saintly forbearance or the basest selfishness, "Storm in June "neither sweetens nor demonizes its characters; unsentimentally, with stunning perceptiveness, Nemirovsky shows the complexities that mean no-one is simply a hero or villain. The second volume, "Dolce," is set in the German-occupied village of Bussy. Again, Nemirovsky switches seamlessly between social strata, from tenant farmers to the local aristocracy. The focus, however, is on the delicate, secret love affair between a German soldier and the French woman in whose house he has been billeted; the passion, doubts and deceits of their burgeoning relationship echo the complex mixture of hostility and acceptance felt by the occupied community as a whole. Nemirovsky is amazingly sensitive in her depiction of changing, often contradictory emotions, but her attention to the personal is matched by her sharp-eyed discussion of small-town life and the politics of occupation. In this myth-dissolving book, the French villagers see the Germans as oppressive warriors, but also as handsome young men, and occupation does nothing to remedy the condescension and envy that bedevil relations between rich and poor. Quite apart from the astonishing story of its survival, Suite Francaise is a novel of genius and lasting artistic value. Subtle, often fiercely ironic, and deeply compassionate, it is both a piercing record of its time and a humane, profoundly moving novel.Hide
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An exquisite book. Even more remarkable when considering the conditions it was written under and the long journey from handwritten manuscript to publication decades later.
Nemirovsky lays out an incredibly detailed description of the occupation of France and the reactions of the French to the ...
I just finished reading Suite Francaise, a book that took me over a month to finish, mostly because it took a very long time for me to actually get into it. I persevered, because what I?d read was good if not captivating ? and because the book received the best overall reviews of any book in 2006. ...
The book is really two novels combined into one story: Storm in June & Dolce. It was written during World War II when Nemorovsky was in hiding from the Germans in the French countryside. She died shortly after in the concentration camp Auschwitz. Her children found her manuscript and had it published ...
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