BOOK REVIEW: SUITE FRANÇAISE BY IRÈNE NÉMIROVSKY

suite francaise

Genre: Fiction (historical, war, classics)

Synopsis: 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.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I discovered this book through an article in a website which unfortunately I forgot the name. The author of the article wrote about how this novel’s manuscript was discovered which was one the reasons why I became interested in reading it. Suite Française has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year and finally last month I had the courage to read it. I have never a book like this one before that is why it is intimidating for me to read. Honestly, I never thought that I could ever finish reading this book. I thought it would be boring or I will be disinterested halfway through but I was wrong. I was taken to France and time traveled to witness closely one the most unforgettable events in the history of mankind, the World War II. Specifically the occupation of France by the Nazis. The book consists of two parts, The Storm in June and Dolce. In the first part the author depicted the lives of the Parisians who are going to flee Paris before it will be invaded by the Nazis and in the second part the lives of people who are living in the village occupied by the Germans are depicted. The characters on the first part are also mentioned or are on Dolce. People from different walks of life are being portrayed in this novel. The elites, the working class, the business men, children, young adults, the adults and the people in their senior years. As I read the book, I was able to take a closer look about the lives of these people, their thoughts and opinions about the war, the values and principles they stand for and their reasons for their actions. The novel let me experience what it was like to live during those difficult times, where your values are challenged, your faith tested and whether you will follow your heart or listen to what the society thinks is the right thing to do. Characters who were portrayed in this story were not only the French but also the German soldiers. As the story progresses, I was also able to take a closer look about their lives and what they think and feel about the war.

This book is a very heart-warming read indeed. It was beautifully written that after reading it, it felt like I just listened to a music. Surprising, thrilling and melodramatic with a little bit of humor. A depiction of war not on the trenches, military bases or government offices and not of the lives of the famous people who were involved in the war but on the homes and villages of the citizens who suffered the end result of a decision to declare the dreaded event, war. This book made me realize that even though during those difficult times, happiness, love, hope, faith and forgiveness will never be taken away from the people. Such strong human spirit that I never could have imagined how they survived the heart aches and bloodshed. This book is a fiction but is based on true to life events. I am sad that Irène Némirovsky, the brilliant author of this book did not live long enough to witness her novel being read and appreciated and also to live long enough to finish what she has started. I wonder what Suite Française would be like if her plans for this novel were carried out.

I highly recommend this book to anyone whether a history enthusiast or not. Provided you are at the right age to read this kind of book. It contains some scenes that for me are for adults only. If it is your first time to read a book like this one and if ever you may find it difficult to understand the way the story is told, which has happened to me and if you find some words to be out of this world, do not let it stop you from reading this book. Just continue. A dictionary is a very helpful friend for those out this world English words. As for how the story is told, the author first describes the situation and the characters before moving on with story as what I have observed which is very helpful later on in understanding what is going in this novel. There are some instances that I laughed with how the author described some of the characters. I truly enjoyed this book and hope you will too.

Publisher: Vintage UK Random House
Published: February 1, 2007
Translated by: Sandra Smith in 2006
ISBN: 978-0-099-48878-1
Pages: 416
Special Features: A map of occupied France, a two part appendix about the author’s plan for the novel and conversations between the author, her friends, family and colleagues through letters.

Source: Bought it on Booksale.

Read more on: Goodreads

*Synopsis and image from Goodreads..

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