Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Suite Francaise" by Irene Nemirovsky

I just finished a beautiful, touching book this morning and can't sing enough of it's praises. I whole heartedly rank it a five star novel. It's riveting (the tension between coexisting German soldiers on French homeland), moving (the reality of war and peace) and refreshing (NOT a pop culture, written to the masses on a Junior High reading level, page turner). Written by a Ukrainian Jew living in Paris during the 1940's, "Suite Fran├žaise" is historical fiction about the German occupation of France; it is 2 books in one plus 50 pages of Appendix. Her original manuscript called for 4-5 books, but she only finished the first two, before being deported to Auschwitz' concentration camp. The Appendix are her plans and notes for the remaining story, as well as a journal/diary as to what was currently taking place in the history of the war. The book went hidden and unpublished for 64 years, before being found, edited and printed. It's wonderful and HIGHLY recommend it.

I have been somewhat disappointed with our books we have chosen for book club, until THIS ONE. It was so refreshing to read something beautifully written, instead of a page turner with no real redemptive quality. I guess I had been searching for a book with a deeper, immaterial value, rather than just a good story line, and I found it!

On a side note, if "Suite Fran├žaise" is on the upcoming, 'to-read' book shelf, be sure to keep a little running notebook of the characters {there are many!} and their French titles and French family lines can get some what confusing -- all the madammes and monsiours! Happy, happy reading :)

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