In June 1940 France fell to the Nazis. The effects of this momentous event on the lives of ordinary Parisians and the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation are brilliantly explored in Irène Némirovsky's gripping and heart-breaking novel. Némirovsky herself was a tragic victim of the Nazi regime but she left behind her this exceptional masterpiece. In Suite Française she conjures up a vivid cast of wonderful characters who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. Amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.
©2006 Irene Nemirovsky (P)2011 Random House AUDIO GO
There has been a lot said about his book, it's author and how it came to be published. What many have failed to highlight was the story of the people displaced by war and those who would pilfer from a neighbour rather than ask. The story of how life is a struggle for the locals left to get on with an occupying force. Love. Hate. Murder. It's all in this book which has made the leap from paperback to audiobook beautifully.
Suite Française is even better than I had expected. It is so revealing of the events at the beginning of the Second World War in France, the attitude of both the French and the occupying German soldiers. It is extremely well written and although there are many characters they are easy to follow through the story. They come to life, their inner thinking explored. They feel very real. I felt a whole gamut of emotions for each of them as if I had actually known them personally.
The reading is clear and exact and in tune with each situation and character. A great book, an excellent narrator.
Loved this! Read as well as listened to this beautiful, intelligent and heartrending account of human behaviour in a small provincial town in France overwhelmed by the invading German army in the 1940s. Provincial jealousies, self righteous arrogance and bitter resentments, desires and dreams frustrated by occupation but also with empathy for the soldiers of an occupying army. The exodus from Paris as the Germans march in - fears magnifying intrenched behaviours of selfishness, possessiveness and class divisions.
A tapestry of humanity in microcosm at a time of extreme stress.
I'm not sure I would listen to it again but I did enjoy it the first time around.
Lucille. She does not prejudge anyone. She has an innate sense of what is good and decent about people and can see through their veneer.
No, I have not so cannot compare this one to any other.
The part when you realise that Benoit is going to end up in the home of Jean Marie, the man whom his wife loves.
Its a well written book that in time will become a must read classic.
Suite Française is a masterful documentary of huge historic interest, made even more noteworthy because at the time of writing Némirovsky, a Russian Jew living in France, had no idea of the ‘Final Solution’, the death camps or the outcome of the war. The book is an unfinished piece of work, comprising the first two novels, of a planned sequence of five, depicting life in France following the invasion and Nazi occupation during WW2. Némirovsky died in Auschwitz in 1942 before completing the remaining novels but an outline of what they would contain and all associated correspondence are contained in the appendices.
Throughout the book I felt that Némirovsky didn’t typecast or label people but concentrated on individuals, which is very poignant given the obvious class distinctions and religious persecution at that time. It wasn’t an easy or exciting read and on more than one occasion I felt like giving up but, out of respect for my book club, I kept going. I wouldn’t recommend this book as a standalone narrative but if anyone is interested in reading an accurate account of life in France at the time of the Nazi occupation this book offers a fascinating piece of social history.
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