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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story, 6 April 2005
By 
Edwin (Phoenix, Arizona, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Suite Francaise (Paperback)
A moving biographical story of French author Irene Nemirovsky. Beautifully presented by her daughter who survived the horrors of World War II, this biography is a presentation of secretly hidden works and memory of Nemirovsky, a Ukrainian born Jewish woman, who moved to Paris from Kiev with her family as a child. She became popular from her 1929 novel, DAVID GOLDER, which later became a play and a film. Arrested by French police and deported to Auschwitz in 1942, she died that year in Auschwitz , the same camp where her husband was gassed .However, her two daughters survived to reveal their mother's papers in THE WATCHTOWER, one of Irene's daughters tells the story of the family, the suitcase, and her mother's murder. Suite Francaise, the first two parts of what Irene Nemirovsky originally intended to be a five-volume epic, has been hailed by ecstatic French critics as "a masterpiece" and "probably the definitive novel of our nation in the second world war ."That is 62 years after Irene Nemirovsky's murder. Rights to the work have already been sold in 18 countries.
Also Recommended: DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, EXODUS, MILA 18
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Unfinished Facets of a Gorgeous Diamond in the Rough Set in World War II Tragedy, 11 May 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Suite Francaise (Paperback)
Suite Française contains two unfinished sections, Storm in June and Dolce, of a planned five-part work about the invasion and occupation of France in World War II. The appendices contain the author's notes for what the other three sections would contain, her correspondence and correspondence about her (especially after she was sent to Auschwitz where she died), and preface to the French edition that outlines her personal history.

This work only recently came to light after Ms. Nemirovsky's surviving daughter, Denise Epstein, began typing out her mother's long-ignored notebook for a memory project.

As you read this work, you'll be responding at two levels: To the monumental tale of a nation unexpectedly brought to its knees and beholden and exposed to its conquerors . . . and to the real human tragedy of a family that would lose both parents while the two daughters survived by being hidden by their governess and those who opposed the Nazis.

Ms. Nemirovsky was a keen observer of the French. All of their quirks from the 1940s are present here, often lampooned into very funny extremes.

Those quirks are first beautifully displayed as a large number of characters are followed while they flee Paris at the last minute before the Germans arrive to evade what they fear will happen to those who stay. With the roads clogged and resources running out, each must cope in her or his own way to find food, lodging, and a safe haven. Not everyone succeeds. In those moments where the realities of the uncivilized aspects of human nature are exposed, you'll feel a chilling presage of the author's ultimate fate.

New dimensions of the quirks are exposed by putting the characters into close contact with German soldiers who are billeted in their homes. Some can make a great show of having no contact, while someone must interact with the Germans to gain benefits that everyone needs. Can you treat an enemy soldier as a person without compromising your own morality, your relationship with your family, and your own integrity? Those are all nice questions that the book raises in Dolce, which covers the period after the invasion through to the beginning of the Russian campaign.

A great strength of these materials can be found in the intense character development. You'll feel like you've always known these people. Even the superficial ones will capture your interest: What selfish, ridiculous actions will they take next?

Even more significantly, the book challenges our notions that groups of people are an entity. Their differences under a label (such as "French" or "German") are much wider than the differences in the labels. You also get a strong message of how dangerous it is for humanity to accept labels rather than considering each person as an individual, as God does.

Rarely have I read any fiction that's so funny, profound, and so enlightening at the same time . . . in the context of great tragedy. You'll find the range of your emotional experiences to be stretched in helpful new ways by this remarkable work.

Writers will take special joy from the book as they gain insights into the working methods of a major novelist.

Bravo!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reading Suite Francaise in French, 21 July 2007
By 
Sarah Ball (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel in French. The plot is quite complicated with so many characters but I kept a piece of paper with the book and wrote down who was where and what had happened to them which really helped. Wikipedia has a good resume of the plot too.
It was an ideal book to read in French as I could not put it down and the flight from Paris in the first part is very exciting.
Some friends were critical of her attitude to the characters, feeling that she did not like people in general, but I found her portrayal of the characters very realist, and their motivations in relation to the occupation were interesting and complex.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously French, 11 Jan 2014
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Intimate details of French families packing up their lives to escape Paris as the Germans move in during the second world war. The wealthy pack their jewels, their bed linen and a moaning granddad. The less wealthy set off on foot with just a suitcase. No one knows where the end is or the outcome but all are hit by the shortage of beds, food and petrol. Class divides evaporate as everyone becomes human beings helpless and morose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars full set, 4 Dec 2013
By 
Mrs. Muriel R. Webber (France) - See all my reviews
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now have all her books to read, each one connected but not if you know what I mean!

now have all her books, all connected but not if you know what i mean, brilliant author
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant evocation of France in 1940, 12 Sep 2013
By 
W. Coward (Angleterre) - See all my reviews
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This novel explores the tragedy that followed the German invasion of France, giving an insight into the psychological trauma that enveloped the nation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Two Unfinished Facets of a Gorgeous Diamond in the Rough Set in World War II Tragedy, 11 May 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Suite Française contains two unfinished sections, Storm in June and Dolce, of a planned five-part work about the invasion and occupation of France in World War II. The appendices contain the author's notes for what the other three sections would contain, her correspondence and correspondence about her (especially after she was sent to Auschwitz where she died), and preface to the French edition that outlines her personal history.

This work only recently came to light after Ms. Nemirovsky's surviving daughter, Denise Epstein, began typing out her mother's long-ignored notebook for a memory project.

As you read this work, you'll be responding at two levels: To the monumental tale of a nation unexpectedly brought to its knees and beholden and exposed to its conquerors . . . and to the real human tragedy of a family that would lose both parents while the two daughters survived by being hidden by their governess and those who opposed the Nazis.

Ms. Nemirovsky was a keen observer of the French. All of their quirks from the 1940s are present here, often lampooned into very funny extremes.

Those quirks are first beautifully displayed as a large number of characters are followed while they flee Paris at the last minute before the Germans arrive to evade what they fear will happen to those who stay. With the roads clogged and resources running out, each must cope in her or his own way to find food, lodging, and a safe haven. Not everyone succeeds. In those moments where the realities of the uncivilized aspects of human nature are exposed, you'll feel a chilling presage of the author's ultimate fate.

New dimensions of the quirks are exposed by putting the characters into close contact with German soldiers who are billeted in their homes. Some can make a great show of having no contact, while someone must interact with the Germans to gain benefits that everyone needs. Can you treat an enemy soldier as a person without compromising your own morality, your relationship with your family, and your own integrity? Those are all nice questions that the book raises in Dolce, which covers the period after the invasion through to the beginning of the Russian campaign.

A great strength of these materials can be found in the intense character development. You'll feel like you've always known these people. Even the superficial ones will capture your interest: What selfish, ridiculous actions will they take next?

Even more significantly, the book challenges our notions that groups of people are an entity. Their differences under a label (such as "French" or "German") are much wider than the differences in the labels. You also get a strong message of how dangerous it is for humanity to accept labels rather than considering each person as an individual, as God does.

Rarely have I read any fiction that's so funny, profound, and so enlightening at the same time . . . in the context of great tragedy. You'll find the range of your emotional experiences to be stretched in helpful new ways by this remarkable work.

Writers will take special joy from the book as they gain insights into the working methods of a major novelist.

Bravo!
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Suite Francaise (Folio Plus Classique)
Suite Francaise (Folio Plus Classique) by Irene Nemirovsky (Mass Market Paperback - 10 Sep 2009)
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