Calling this book "The Polish Persepolis" as many did would not be fair.
What I like, apart from the book, is the story behind its genesis. Let's take a...moreCalling this book "The Polish Persepolis" as many did would not be fair.
What I like, apart from the book, is the story behind its genesis. Let's take a French illustrator and a Polish woman with some writing skills. Let's call them Sylvain and Marzena. Then let these two fall in love with each other.
Visiting Marzena's country, Sylvain got interested in the childhood of his girlfriend and he asked her to remember those days. Marzena did it beginning with some apparently minor details related with daily life during the communist age. Sylvain found those details inspiring and began drawing some sketches of a carp in a bathtub.
Well, according to Sylvain and Marzena this is how red-haired intrepid "Marzi" was born on paper. And I trust them.
This book collects the very first stories coming out from Marzena's childhood. The drawings are beautiful, the storyboard is pretty good and the whole operation is deserving. Maybe "Marzi" is not a masterpiece but having been in Poland recently I found her 1980s adventures as a good guide for understanding in a better and not pedant way the country nowadays.(less)
They better call it a screenplay rather than a novel. "Entre les murs" is poorly written in its dry dialogue-led realism with only a few selected mome...moreThey better call it a screenplay rather than a novel. "Entre les murs" is poorly written in its dry dialogue-led realism with only a few selected moments of a decent, but mainly sarcastic irony.
Frankly speaking, the reason why I found this book interesting is mainly comparative, thinking to the Italian system of education. What I learned is that apparently in France you can be suspended from class or even expelled from school just by calling your professor "you" or not asking the permission for throwing a sheet in the wastepaper basket. Oh Mon Dieu! These banlieusards are worse than savages! C'est intolerable!
Being the son of a teacher, I consider the way professor/Bégaudeau interacts with his lazy and partly illitterate pupils astonishing, prejudicial and superficial: no wonder he had problems with them.
Liking very much Laurent Cantet as a director I guess how I would appreciate more the movie based on this book than the book itself. (less)
Beautifully written. It doesn't look a bit like the partially unchecked first draft it was. But this is probably due to the perfectionism involved in t...moreBeautifully written. It doesn't look a bit like the partially unchecked first draft it was. But this is probably due to the perfectionism involved in the writing technique of Irène Némirovsky.
I disagree with those who found the main characters here slightly stereotyped. Not even Albert - the cat - has stereotyped manners here.
Not a masterpiece and perhaps over-hyped due to the sad personal story (and controversial behavior) of its author. Still "Suite Française" is a very good book, although covering only two-fifths of what Némirovsky wanted to write and - I guess - very little of what she wished to achieve.
This ambitious unfinished novel/project will probably be more appreciated by a female audience. But personally I'm glad to come back to it each evening between dinner and pre-bed teeth brushing.
PS: Thumbs down for the cheap-romance like cover chosen for the British edition of this book. Wouldn't have been much better placing a photo of the original manuscript or some black and white picture of the author herself? Just a thought, eh.(less)