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Publisher's Summary

By the early 1940s, when Ukrainian-born Irène Némirovsky began working on what would become Suite Française - the first two parts of a planned five-part novel - she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz: a month later she was dead at the age of 39. Two years earlier, living in a small village in central France - where she, her husband, and their two small daughters had fled in a vain attempt to elude the Nazis - she'd begun her novel, a luminous portrayal of a human drama in which she herself would become a victim. When she was arrested, she had completed two parts of the epic, the handwritten manuscripts of which were hidden in a suitcase that her daughters would take with them into hiding and eventually into freedom. Sixty-four years later, at long last, we can read and hear Némirovsky's literary masterpiece.

The first part, "A Storm in June," opens in the chaos of the massive 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion, during which several families and individuals are thrown together under circumstances beyond their control. They share nothing but the harsh demands of survival, but soon, all together, they will be forced to face the awful exigencies of physical and emotional displacement, and the annihilation of the world they know. In the second part, "Dolce," we enter the increasingly complex life of a German-occupied provincial village. Coexisting uneasily with the soldiers billeted among them, the villagers cope as best they can. Some choose resistance, others collaboration, and as their community is transformed by these acts, their lives reveal nothing less than the very essence of humanity.

Suite Française is a singularly piercing evocation - at once subtle and severe, deeply compassionate and fiercely ironic - of life and death in occupied France, and a brilliant, profoundly moving work of art.

©2006 Irene Nemirovsky (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Extraordinary.... A work of Proustian scope and delicacy, by turns funny and deeply moving, that captures a civilization in its most revealing moment: that of its undoing." ( Time)
"What is so remarkable about Suite Française, apart from its artistic merit, is that it survived at all and has, at last, become available for us to read.... [It] is an extraordinary work, an astonishing blend of fiction and fact, history and storytelling." ( Houston Chronicle)
"A tour de force of narrative distillation, using a handful of people to represent a multitude. Némirovsky’s shifts in tone and pace... are mesmerizing.... She wrote what may be the first work of fiction about what we now call World War II. She also wrote, for all to read at last, some of the greatest, most humane and inclusive fiction that conflict has produced." ( The New York Times Book Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One word: Epic

This book exceeded all expectations. You will not be disappointed with this title. Everyone should experience this book for a multitude of reasons. This is one of the best books I have ever encountered.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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suite francaise

very good book. a really good book about about a dark time in human history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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beautiful story

It was a beautiful thought on humanity in war, it left me with a feelong of hope.

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Beautiful story

The historical facts coupled with the prose of the author made this a wonderful listen. The characters created helped give small glimpse at this part of history and the complex relationships that existed between the invaders and the local people.

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My congratulations and thankfulness to those who read.

Thank you, reading was perfect. Lots of Art in that too, not just the writer produced the book, for me your voices were the ones that took me
Into the emotion. Thank you for sharing that talent.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Bruno’s character was horribly read

I loved the story but Barbara Rosenblat’s portrayal of Bruno, made him sound like a clueless imbecile and not like a conquering German officer in love. I kept expecting her to have Bruno say something like, “pip pip Cheerio! Good day my good man!”
Ruined Bruno’s true character. Read the book yourself.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gina
  • Minneapolis
  • 12-18-17

Disappointing

I found this novel disappointing. I was hoping it would be better than the film, but unusually this is a case of the film being better than the book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exquisite

My words cannot express how wonderful this book is. To realize the circumstances under which it was written makes it all the more exponentially great. What an upmost tragedy for the world that such a special human being was murdered at Auschwitz.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Suite francaise

It was A good story. However, there were many characters, and I found it difficult to keep track of each individual story. This might have been a book I needed to read in hard copy.

Overall , I did enjoy it some but again I was confused as to how and why all the characters who were related.

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Beautifully Written

author's way with words magically wraps the story around you.
Well performed! So sorry there will be no more books from her. Hopefully one of her children has her talent for writing!