Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

I viewed a number of very positive reviews and stories about this book prior to my reading it.

The story behind Suite Francaise is as compelling as the novel. Nemirovsky was rounded up and sent to a concentration camp in the midst of writing about occupied France in the early 1940's. She eventually died in the concentration camp. The handwritten manuscript of this book was found by her daughter about 50 years after the author's death.

The novel describes the personal turbulence, fear and disruption of routine French life caused by the invasion and occupation of France starting in 1940.

What struck me was the even handiness that Nemirovsky portrayed in describing the occupation. She did not make the German occupation forces to be monsters given her own precarious personal situation. This is an excellent war story not about soldiers and generals but about common people caught up in circumstances beyond their control.

Excellent reading for those that love a good story and for historians.

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