Book Reviews: Suite Francaise

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Suite Francaise
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.

7 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Thanks for the great review as this has been on my TBR list for a while. Hopefully early 2011 I will get to read it.

LindyLouMac said...

This is quite near the top of Mt TBR and this review has made me even more keen to read soon, thankyou.

Nymeth said...

I've heard a lot about this book, but I actually had no idea that it was meant to be part of a larger work she never had the chance to finish. That's such a shame :\

Avid Reader said...

Nymeth - I know, it's truly sad to think about what could have been. I feel the same way about Anne Frank. I know she was just a normal girl, but who knows what she would have become.

Jenners said...

I read this some time ago and was more caught up in the story of the author and what happened to her than the book itself.

Vaishnavi said...

I love chronicles of the wars and I would love to rad this book. Thanks for sharing :)

Avid Reader said...

Jenners - I agree, I think a biography on her might be better than the book.