Book Reviews: Suite Francaise
Tuesday, December 14, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
by Irene Nemirovsky
Split into two section, A Storm in June and Dolce, this book was originally set to be made up of five parts. The author, a Jewish woman, died in Auschwitz during the very war she was chronicling before she could finish her tale. Perhaps because of that, the sprawling novel never quite manages to make all of its ends meet.
Despite that, Nemirovsky created a powerful portrait of France during WWII. A Storm in June follows the mass exodus of Paris as German troops advance on the city. The desperation of the people leads them to do selfish things as they try to survive. I love how the author shows examples of both the wealthy and poor classes struggles during this time.
Dolce focuses on a small provincial town which is occupied by Germans during the war. The French people are forced to allow Germans to live in their homes and each family reacts in a different way to the intrusion.
There are so many characters that it’s hard to remember how they all connect. I have a feeling that their stories would have become clearer and more complete through the final three volumes she was planning on writing, but we’ll never know for sure. It’s heartbreaking to discover one more life cut too short by war.