In June 1940 France fell to the Nazis. The effect of this event on the lives of ordinary Parisians and the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation are brilliantly explored in Irène Némirovsky's heartbreaking novel. A tragic victim of the Nazi regime, Némirovsky left behind this masterpiece in which she conjures up a vivid cast of characters, thrown together in ways they never expected. Amidst the mess of defeat, true nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.
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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. Irène Nemirovsky is, on this evidence, a novelist of the very first order, perceptive to a fault and sly in her emotional restraint - Evening Standard
Remarkable as the story of the publication of Suite Française is, it will finally be of anecdotal interest compared with the importance of the book. Here is the work of a fine novelist at the top of her form, writing about the fate of her adopted country with a pitiless clarity -
[I]t is certain to be the toast of publisher...evokes the heroism, brutality and cowardice of a country under occupation...critics are united in acclaiming it as one of the most important novels about the occupation - Sunday Times
Suite Francaise is one of those rare books that demands to be read - Guardian
A book of exceptional literary quality, it has the kind of intimacy found in the diary of Anne Frank - Times Literary Supplement
An heroic attempt to write a novel about a nightmare in which the author is entirely embedded - Spectator
An irresistible work. Suite Francaise clutches the heart - The Times
It is quite outstanding, full of beauty, pain and truth...We are lucky to have this book - Sunday Telegraph
Nemirovsky has a great gift for describing the ordinariness that surrounds catastrophes... it is this ability to conjure up people, in all their moods and foibles, their selflessness or vanity, that makes Suite Francaise so remarkable - Literary Review
What is to me most remarkable is the degree to which Nemirovsky, writing so close to the event, has nevertheless distilled it to extract the significance of each moment and episode. it is literature, not journalism... Her novel is in the classic French tradition, intelligent and sensuous - Scotsman
Suite Francaise is the most powerful account of that time and place many of us have ever read...this extraordinary woman's work is receiving the celebration it deserves. I defy anyone to read it without tears of admiration and pity for its author - Daily Mail
Irène Némirovsky 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'Evêque (in German occupied territory). It was here that Irène began writing Suite Française. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. Translated by Sandra Smith.