There have been a million books written on the history of the holocaust, but this remains the authoritative tomb. Must read for every liberally educatThere have been a million books written on the history of the holocaust, but this remains the authoritative tomb. Must read for every liberally educated person. Must, must!...more
I am plowing through Suite Francaise but clearly struggling with some part of it. There are points where the story becomes so painful while the plot mI am plowing through Suite Francaise but clearly struggling with some part of it. There are points where the story becomes so painful while the plot moves so slowly that I simply want to put it down, but the author's story is so sad and her daughter's act of preserving their mother's novel so courageous I keep reading when the book itself makes me want to stop.
I stole my goodreads pal Leslie's synopsis of the history of the novel as I find it so well said. She writes:
"Ukrainian-born author Irene Nemirovsky was executed at Auschwitz in 1942. Prior to her deportation, she had fled to the French country-side with her family to attempt to avoid the Nazis. While living in the central France, she began an epic novel about life in France during the War. She complete the first two parts of what was to be a 5 part story before she was killed. Her young daughters managed to hold on to the manuscript and 60 years after their mother's death, the store was published."
I also found Leslie's observations about the story very compelling. She said, "[T:]his story captures human nature at strained points and time and highlights the baseness of humanity. The reader is thrown in the mass exodus of Paris ahead of the German occupation and the lack of humanity displayed by the vast majority of characters. . . . [T:]he triumphs of good are so tarnished by by the cruelty of the crowd that I have a tough time reading these stories."
I just finished and am almost heartbroken that the story does not continue as the author planned. About halfway through the second part, I took a break to read the author's notes in the appendix, which alone are an incredible historical find - to see an author fighting to create, craft and complete a novel in the midst of war while her rights as a Jew are swiftly stripped a way is a mind altering experience.
The notes are also helpful to the reader because at a certain point the book feels disconnected. Normally, one would just give the author a certain amount of credit and plow on, but with less than 100 pages left, I felt as if I was reading a book without a core. The notes regarding the author's plan for the unwritten sections gave me a firm sense of what she was trying to accomplish and suddenly, the "sweetness" (or dolce, as the part is called) opened up for me. I was absolutely riveted when I finished and am kind of mourning for the loss of the three unfinished parts.
In so many ways, the book is a masterpiece, albeit, a fragmented one, which might even be better read as two separate novellas than two parts of a novels. But above all, to know that the author's daughters saved this work of art for 60 years after their mother died in Auschwitz makes me proud to have read it. We should all hope to honor our mothers so grandly. ...more
This book really only deserves two stars as it borrows heavily from the work of other historians and makes blanket suppositions without any basis in fThis book really only deserves two stars as it borrows heavily from the work of other historians and makes blanket suppositions without any basis in fact or evidence. This book, however, was so instrumental in my early education that I cannot give it less than a three. The title will always immediately remind me of one of my most dearly beloved professors -- Dr. Max Kele. ...more