- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; Translation edition (April 11, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400044731
- ISBN-13: 978-1400044733
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 677 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #385,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Suite Française Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 11, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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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From Bookmarks Magazine
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.
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“Storm in June,” the first part of “Suite Francaise,” tells a story of the “exodus” describing the French fleeing the war. What makes it even more precious is that it was written basically by an eye-witness, the woman who saw the unraveling horror of war firsthand, first the occupation of her adopted hometown of Paris, and then the rest of France. And yet, her prose is so vivid and inspired, her portrayal of several families fleeing from the war is so brilliant and precise that you can’t help but admire her talent to write something so outstanding in the darkest of times.
There is no single protagonist in this novel; it’s more of a snapshot of several faces, several characters whose social standing is so different and therefore their perception of the events around them differs greatly too. There aren’t heroes here as well, only ordinary people who are presented to the reader with painstaking honesty, and this makes this novel even more powerful. The language is vivid and lucid; portrayal is genuine and imaginative, and the horrors of war and the degrading effect it had on human nature are incredibly realistic.
“Dolce,” the second novel which was adopted into a movie, is a love story between a German officer and a French woman, both of whom were affected by the war. Wilhelm was conscripted to the army when all he dreamt of was being a composer and write beautiful music, and Lucille had her husband taken away from her as a prisoner of war; only the loveless marriage makes her start questioning her true feelings as soon as the enemy starts living in her house…
Definitely a must-read for all fans of historical fiction genre. One of my favorite WWII novels.
Some people may not think the book is full of surprises, but reading the book enabled me to see through the eyes of the narrator and therefore the entire book was a surprise as it is a world I have never experienced and could not begin to anticipate Even knowing the outcome of the war; it is altogether different to be inside the war while it is occurring and to be faced with situations that are part of being occupied and at war.