Friday, June 3, 2011

Read With Me

Before moving to Switzerland for a new teaching position, my dear friend, Ellen, gifted 
me the next selection on my summer reading list.  The book is called"Suite Francaise" 
by Irene Nemirovsky and I am so excited to share this lovely work with you.  

"Suite Francaise" is actually two novellas in one: the first part focuses on the German
invasion of France in the early 1940's during WWII and the second centers around
the beginning of their occupation.  Nemirovsky, a French writer of Ukranian Jewish
origin, intended the book to be a five part series but was captured by Nazis and sent
to a concentration camp before finishing.  This historical novel/personal account was
written to depict daily life during a tumultuous time.  Despite her grim circumstances
and almost certain fate, Nemirovsky remains almost cheerful, creating a feminine quality
to a violent setting.  She develops her characters beautifully, showing a raw side of
humanity where people who otherwise would not have interacted due to their class
and culture, are suddenly forced to become one and coexist for survival.  The book
humanizes the characters in a way that makes you forget the political undertones, making
it a refreshing take on a well-known story.
Personally, I am a big fan of historical fiction.  That being said, I do not think that this
book is for everyone.  It is rather slow at the beginning and I found myself having to
put it down quite often and then revisiting it later.  The author tends to spend a lot of
time on arcs that never really develop which is sometimes frustrating and left me
wanting more.  Overall, I enjoyed the book and will probably pick up the first two books
of the "series".  If you interested in a different take on Jewish life during WWII, give
this novel a chance.  It is worth your time, regardless of the slow pace.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, it sounds interesting, I'm intrigued. I love historial fiction as well.

Lindsey Lea B said...

Thank you for the book suggestion! With summer coming and a lot of sun on the way (hopefully) I am looking for great books like this!

She Said... said...

I am totally going to look into these books. I love reading stories from that time period.