Title: Suite Francaise
Author: Irene Nemirovsky
Publisher: Vintage 2007
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading
How I Got It: I own it
Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française 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 at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy—in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.When Irène Némirovsky began working on Suite Française, she was already a highly successful 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.
Wow! A very powerful novel. I started reading it thinking it was a modern novel writing about the past. Of course I realized my mistake when I looked up the author on wikipedia. I thought that the language and sentence structure was a bit strange for a recently written novel. And it is… because it was written during WWII and has been translated from the original French. That explains it!
As to the story, I loved following the various families through the ordeal of the German occupation of France. We get to see how various people reacted to the events of turmoil. I can’t imagine having to become refugees in your own country. It seems inconceivable and yet people had to continue with their lives. There are some villains (besides the Germans) and yet I can understand why they are how they are. Overall it was a very interesting read.
When starting this book, I realized that I have read multiple fiction books set during WWII this month. All three (Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, The White Pearl, and Suite Francaise) were set in different places. It was interesting to see how different locations affected lives during the war.