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Starred Review. Celebrated in pre-WWII France for her bestselling fiction, the Jewish Russian-born Némirovsky was shipped to Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, months after this long-lost masterwork was composed. Némirovsky, a convert to Catholicism, began a planned five-novel cycle as Nazi forces overran northern France in 1940. This gripping "suite," collecting the first two unpolished but wondrously literary sections of a work cut short, have surfaced more than six decades after her death. The first, "Storm in June," chronicles the connecting lives of a disparate clutch of Parisians, among them a snobbish author, a venal banker, a noble priest shepherding churlish orphans, a foppish aesthete and a loving lower-class couple, all fleeing city comforts for the chaotic countryside, mere hours ahead of the advancing Germans. The second, "Dolce," set in 1941 in a farming village under German occupation, tells how peasant farmers, their pretty daughters and petit bourgeois collaborationists coexisted with their Nazi rulers. In a workbook entry penned just weeks before her arrest, Némirovsky noted that her goal was to describe "daily life, the emotional life and especially the comedy it provides." This heroic work does just that, by focusing—with compassion and clarity—on individual human dramas. (Apr. 18)
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Némirovsky wrote Suite Française as the events that inspired them unfolded simultaneously; that alone makes the work remarkable. The first two novels came to light in 2004 (and were published to great acclaim in France) after Némirovsky's daughters revealed the existence of their mother's notebooks. With the author's notes about her next three novels (Captivity, Battles, and Peace?) included, it's clear that Némirovsky intended to write a sort of War and Peace. Even without Némirovsky's astonishing perspective, critics agree that the novels' witty characterizations, mesmerizing prose, cinematic scenes, and insightful observations make these novels short masterpieces. The New York Times expressed concern over characterization, and Newsday noted the absence of discussion about Jews. Still, Suite Française may be considered "the last great fiction of the war" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).<BR>Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.See all Editorial Reviews
An exceptional book. It is not just the content, life in occupied rural France during the first two years of WWII and the love story between a French young woman and a German... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Ury M. Gluskinos
Very powerful portrayal of a people whose lives have been torn upside down by war and occupation - & how greed & self interest reign in some while others continue to show... Read morePublished 7 days ago by canine afionado
Excellent description of Paris under the Nazi occupation.
The ambitions, pettiness or bravery of common citizens under siege. Read more
This is a masterpiece. The book is a historical novel as well as an exploration of the minds and hearts of characters from many social clases and situations, making up a tableau... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gabriela Castellanos
Love this writer. This was the first book I read by her. Ordered another of her books!Published 1 month ago by Nancy Ciaio
Poignant, charming, distressing, uplifting - a great easy read that tells a difficult story about difficult times. Prepare to laugh a little and cry a bit more.Published 1 month ago by FunnySmartHappy
All the characters felt very real. She obviously understood the French people and the occupation. I really liked this book.Published 2 months ago by Annie sousa
Wonderful book. She understands the subtleties of the human condition.Published 2 months ago by H-T