Read the lost masterpiece behind the major new film starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Michelle WilliamsIn 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France.
In 1941, Ir ne Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, SUITE FRANCAISE would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece.Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, SUITE FRANCAISE falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion and make their way through the chaos of France; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. Nemirovsky's brilliance as a writer lay in her portrayal of people, and this is a novel that teems with wonderful characters, each more vivid than the next. Haughty aristocrats, bourgeois bankers and snobbish aesthetes rub shoulders with uncouth workers and bolshy farmers. Women variously resist or succumb to the charms of German soldiers. However, amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.Irene Nemirovsky conceived of SUITE FRANCAISE as a four- or five-part novel. It was to be a symphony - her War and Peace. Although only two sections were finished before her tragic death, they form a book that is beautifully complete in itself, and awe-inspiring in its understanding of humanity.
Ir ne Nemirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became a bestselling novelist . She was prevented from publishing when the Germans occupied France and moved with her husband and two small daughters from Paris to the safety of the small village of Issy-l'Evaque (in German occupied territory). It was here that Ir ne began writing Suite Fran aise. She died in Auschwitz in 1942.
"An irresistible work. Suite Francaise clutches the heart" -- Carmen Callil The Times "It is quite outstanding, full of beauty, pain and truth... We are lucky to have this book" -- Anne Chisholm Sunday Telegraph "The facts surrounding the discovery of this book are as remarkable as its contents are magnificent... A triumph of indomitability and a masterwork of literary accomplishment" Sunday Times "Deftly translated by Sandra Smith, this is possibly the most devastating indictment of French manners and morals since Madame Bovary, as hypnotic as Proust at the biscuit tin, as gruelling as Genet on the prowl. Irene Nemirovsky is, on this evidence, a novelist of the very first order, perceptive to a fault and sly in her emotional restraint" Evening Standard "An heroic attempt to write a novel about a nightmare in which the author is entirely embedded" -- Anita Brookner Spectator
A major event - the first paperback publication of a lost masterpiece written in Second Wolrd War France and telling the spellbinding story of a group of characters living under Nazi occupation.
Runner-up for Reading Group Book of the Year 2007
Short-listed for Independent Booksellers' Week Book of the Year Award: Adults' Book of the Year 2007
Short-listed for British Book Awards: Book of the Year 2007
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