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Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

About the book

In 1941, Irène Némirovsky 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. Némirovsky’s death in Auschwitz in 1942 prevented her from seeing the day, sixty-five years later, that the existing two sections of her planned novel sequence, Suite Française, would be rediscovered and hailed as a masterpiece.
Set during the year that France fell to the Nazis, Suite Française falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation. Suite Française is a novel that teems with wonderful characters struggling with the new regime. 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.

Reviewed by  Enjoying Books Reading Group:

Unusual book – wonderful prose, a great insight into French life during the war. Beautifully drawn characters.

Star rating: ****

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9 thoughts on “Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky”

  1. Review by Biscuits, Books and Banter Reading Group:
    Well received book. Generated discussion about the oddness of occupation by those living through it. A very descriptive and evocative novel that was easy to read. A war novel that is not horrific, an unusual look at WWII though eyes of a person who was living though it.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Sandy’s Reading Group:
    The interweaving storylines in part 1 helped to mirror the confusion as the families fled Paris. A much gentler pace was achieved in part 2 by focusing on one main theme, reflecting the relative calm of the occupation. An interesting read enhanced by good use of detailed description.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Kingsclere Reading Group:
    We all enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written and evocative of the time. The insight into the flight from Paris and the early stages of the occupation is fascinating. The appendices provided a lot of material for discussion. readers should be sure to include those.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Cowdray Reading Group:
    Interesting account of local French people living under German occupation and the relationships between each other and with the occupying soldiers.
    Star rating: ***

  5. Review by Fleet Library Readers Reading Group:
    This beautifully written ann poignant novel initiated a thoughtful and reflective discussion. Some comments included ‘It felt disjointed/incomplete’ undersandable due to the author’s tragic circumstances.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by King’s Somborne Reading Group:
    Superb characterisation and vivid descriptive passages. The atmosphere of the 2 sections are very different – the first dealing with the chaos of the flight from Paris and the second finding a way to live under the occupation that followed. The group found it moving, emotional and thought-provoking, except for one member who thought it too dispassionate.
    Rating: 4 Stars

  7. Review by Havers Reading Group:
    Well received – all enjoyed. Well written with exceptional translations. Characters easily portrayed. Surprising humour. Also compassion for the common soldier. Good contrast from city life to village life.
    Star rating: ****

  8. Review by Alverstoke reading group:
    Very good, enjoyed by all. In places very harrowing. Very descriptive, in all a very good read.
    Star rating: ***/****

  9. Review by The Olive Tree reading group:
    A fantastic read, enjoyed by all the group and as it happened very relevant to current D.Day celebrations.
    Star rating: ****

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