Reading with Blogging Mama

It’s time for another addition of Reading with Blogging Mama.  I am doing something a bit different this time, I am going to tell you my selection before I read it.  Then maybe we will all read it together.  I found this book at the Buy 1 Get 1 Half Off table at Borders.  I am going to warn upfront that it is another sad book.  I am taken with the World War II Nazi era after reading Jenna Blum’s book (see reading list in sidebar).  

This new book’s author has quite a personal history.  She was Russian born but also of Jewish descent, but fled Russia and had been living in France since 1920.  The book itself is actually comprised of two of her works, Storm in June and Dolce neither of which was complete at the time she was sent to Auschwitz, where she died.  It was published 64 years after her death.
Suite Francaise
Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940, Suite Francaise tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control.  As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified of the thought losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart.  Moving on to a provinicial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy – in their town, their homes, even their hearts.
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When Irene Nemirovsky began working on Suite Francaise, she was already a highly succesful writer living in Paris.  But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died.  For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.

The appendixes in the back of the book include letters by Ms. Nemirovsky, her husband and various others she was in frequent contact with.  These also include her two last know letters before her death.  I’ve spent the past hour reading through the letters and they are very emotional and speak clearly of the increasingly dangerous situation in which Ms. Nemirovsky and her family were living.

I’d love to hear if anyone will be reading the book with me.  It is a thought provoking book I look forward to reading.

* I am adding this postscript to my post for Kelly raised a good question which I didn’t make clear.  This is actually one book, or rather two part of what was supposed to have been a five part book.  The original was written in French and in the opening forward written by the translator, Sandra Smith, she explains that these were two ‘books’ while seeming complete were to be part of larger whole as described in Ms Nemirovsky notes.

Also noted in the end of the book, is the forward that appeared with the original French publication of the book.  The notebook containing the book Suite Francaise was in the custody of Ms Nemirovsky’s daughter Denise Epstein since she was a child and fled the Nazi’s after her parents arrests.  Neither Ms Epstein or her sister Elizabeth could bring themselves to read the words left in the notebook.  It was not until sixty-four years later that it was read and discovered to have been her mothers last work.   

4 thoughts on “Reading with Blogging Mama

  1. So just for clarification…is it 2 separate stories that someone posthumunously put together…or is it just 2 separate stories incomplete at the time of her arrest?I’ll check to see if local library has a copy…it sounds interesting!

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  2. I think it is the living so close to those who would once again like to see harm come to the Jews that means I need to skip. This issue continues to be way too complicated for me to tackle given my present home. But I’m going to bet it sure beats the David Baldacci book I stole from my husband out of desperation for something to read!

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