I read most of the book and found it very satisfying in detail and feeling. Then I listened - and found it boring. The reader's voice is distracting, its modulations seeming inspired by something within the reader rather than by the narrative, and he employs a potpourri of not quite identifiable accents. Even the most basic French approximations are too far off-target: "monsieur" becomes "mushyur". The acting is overheated or boring. Disappointing.
I listened to this beautiful produced and performed audio book. Truthfully, I'd started it some years ago and stopped listening. It just wasn't grabbing me. But starting it again now has been perfect timing. Having read a few World War II novels lately, this offered another story, style, and perspective.
The author wrote this during the period it's set in. Yet, the story isn't about her. It's about the exodus from Paris in 1940, with its effects on Parisians and the French in the surrounding countryside. We meet a variety of people and often their families, not quite knowing how they'll all fit together. And actually, they aren't all interconnected but that doesn't distract from the story.
In addition to the depth each vignette is developed (as a rough draft!), I keep re-thinking the author's experience. She wrote everything in tiny script to save precious paper. She gave her manuscript to her daughters, sent them to safety, and went to Auchwitz only to die soon after. None of the characters' stories are as dramatic as the author's.
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I can't review this book properly because I never really got into it.
I made it 25% of the way in back in November 2012 before putting it aside because I wasn't paying any attention and had no clue what was going on.
I tried all over again now in March 2014 but only made it to 16% this time before I abandoned it for good.
I just can't get into it.
I love to listen to AudioBooks especially at night. Historical fiction is my favourite besides mystery. Nicholas Boulton, Davina Porter favs
I loved the author's voice, the true to life story and the writing itself.
When the story evolved around the fact that the enemy were people just like the French, and that war was the only thing that separated them.
Barbara Rosenblat first, but Daniel was good too.
Two sittings. The first half, and then the second part worked for me.
Very well written in my opinion. The mood struck me as it was written when war was going on right on their doorstep in Paris. Loved it all and would suggest it to a friend for sure.
Both narrators did a phenomenal job, but could not save the book.
I would not recommend this book, as I could barely get through it myself. I was considering returning the book after about 1 hour of listening, as I could not keep track of too many characters, introduced too quickly. In fact, at the end of part one I still was confused about who was who. Frankly, I did not care deeply about anyone (I need to care about at least 1 character in order to enjoy a book). I do think the writer had a great potential and a great talent to describe human emotions, scenery, and almost imperceptible subtleties of human interactions. But, with so many characters, it was very difficult to keep up.
Hard to say. The book definitely is a historical treasure, a first hand account of events. It peeked my interest in French history. However, enjoyment was minimal and frustration ran high.
Listened to this Audio for book-club. I couldn't wait for it to be over. I appreciated the writers work & when written at such an awful time, but nevertheless, boring, too many story lines, not enough sustance. Disapointed.
Albert, the cat & Benniot
Most of them
waste of money - points.
Because of the story of its writing and discovery, I had anticipated a novel of real significance. Instead, it was a somewhat interesting read about the emptying out of Paris when the Germans first arrived during WWII.
A lovely novel that intertwines the stories of several French citizens and their efforts to survive the Nazi invasion and occupation. Nemirovsky does a fine job of conveying the hardships of day-to-day living for her well-drawn characters.
Set in a very difficult time, the German occupation of France in 1940, the author nevertheless finds such moments of beauty, love & redemption that her words enchant like sunlight on polished crystal or delicate birdsong wafting through an open window on a summer breeze. She creates surprising scenes and characters of such depth & complexity that they seem real and taking breaks from listening is like being separated from a loved one. I didn't want to stop.
The day to day scenes of village life, farm life and life in Paris are so vivid that they truly come to life and seem more like memories than the words of a book.
There have been so many stories about this period of human history, but Nemirovsky finds a completely different perspective by looking candidly through the eyes and hearts of the people who lived through them. So she takes us on a fresh journey of the human heart and a wonderful journey it is.
I feel so sad that Nemirovsky didn't get to complete the 4 or 5 novels she intended for this "suite".
I would have LOVED to read them ALL!
These audio versions are very well performed and I enjoyed every word!
The caption relates the story of the author, but that is not the plot of the novel. The first half is the story of how a diverse group of people made the exodus out of Paris to various towns as the Germans crossed the Seine in 1940. If you're interested in this period of history, this book provides a well rounded look at Paris class structure. The second half, however, is focused on one small town and how the Germans chose to occupy it. It meanders without direction, and is less informative. The characters are nuanced, but all seem to be of the same class, so the texture of the first half is wasted in the second. Worth a listen at half price.