Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903. The daughter of a Jewish Ukranian banker and raised with a love of French culture, she was sixteen when she and her family settled in Paris. Ten years later, her novel “David Golder” thrust her to the forefront of the French literary scene. The dozen books and short stories she wrote over the following decade earned her admiration and caused controversy too, with their violent lucidity and cruel descriptions of a world destined to disappear. The Occupation and the Vichy regime’s anti-Semitic laws put an end to her brilliant career. Irène was forbidden from publishing and reduced to selling her writing under a pseudonym to the newspapers that would still print her. She retreated to the Burgundy village of Issy-l’Evêque with her husband, Michael Epstein, and their two daughters, Denise and Élisabeth. To help fill the void created by exile, Irene began an extraordinary project. She would tell the story of the war as it was unfolding in five volumes taken straight from current events. Two novels were born, written in her cramped handwriting in a leatherbound notebook, “Storm in June” (Tepête en juin) and “Dolce,” under the series title “Suite française.” That headlong creative period was halted when she was arrested by French police on July 13, 1942. She was sent to Auschwitz and died there, from typhus it is believed, a month later.Read more Read less
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