I just finished reading Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky. The book was made up of parts which would have included several parts. She managed to nearly finish two parts: Storm in June, and Dolce which are both included in Suite Française. It, of course, was written in French and translated by Sandra Smith , Cambridge England, 2005
I love her style, voice and tone. Even though years later, her love for life and the curse laid upon Jewish people, became her vices. I would recommend this novel to anyone who would like to have a taste of what it was like when the Germans invaded France and nearby countries. Also, her spectacular voice comes through, even though the German army rushed them from their homes in Paris to a place of safety for a time. How one can write under such tumultuous occasion is beyond me. I include this piece from Wikipedia so that her biography can be shared. A wonderful book full of images you will not soon forget, as well as characters that will make you wonder. Romance is key. There is a movie out apparently which I would like to see as well.
Irène Némirovsky was born in 1903 in Kiev, then in the Russian Empire, the daughter of a banker from Kiev, Léon Némirovsky. Her volatile and unhappy relationship with her mother became the heart of many of her novels.
The Némirovsky family fled the Russian Empire at the start of the Russian Revolution in 1917, spending a year in Finland in 1918 and then settling in Paris, France, where Irène attended the Sorbonne and began writing when she was 18 years old.
In 1926, Irène Némirovsky married Michel Epstein, a banker, and had two daughters: Denise, born in 1929; and Élisabeth, in 1937.
In 1929 she published David Golder, the story of a Jewish banker unable to please his troubled daughter, which was an immediate success, and was adapted to the big screen by Julien Duvivier in 1930, with Harry Baur as David Golder. In 1930 her novel Le Bal, the story of a mistreated daughter and the revenge of a teenager, became a play and a movie.
The David Golder manuscript was sent by post to the Grasset publisher with a Poste restante address and signed Epstein. H. Muller, a reader for Grasset immediately tried to find the author but couldn’t get hold of him/her. Grasset put an ad in the newspapers hoping to find the author, but the author was busy: she was having her first child, Denise. When Irène finally showed up as the author of David Golder, the unverified story is that the publisher was surprised that such a young woman was able to write such a powerful book.
Irène Némirovsky was of Russian–Jewish origin, but converted to Catholicism in 1939 and wrote in Candide and Gringoire, two magazines with anti-Semitic tendencies, perhaps partly to hide the family’s Jewish origins and thereby protect their children from growing anti-Semitic persecution.
By 1940, Némirovsky’s husband was unable to continue working at the bank – and Némirovsky’s books could no longer be published – because of their Jewish ancestry. Upon theNazis‘ approach to Paris, they fled with their two daughters to the village of Issy-l’Evêque (the Némirovskys initially sent them to live with their nanny’s family in Burgundy while staying on in Paris themselves; they had already lost their Russian home and refused to lose their home in France), where Némirovsky was required to wear the Yellow badge.
On 13 July 1942, Némirovsky (then 39) was arrested as a “stateless person of Jewish descent” by French police under the regulations of the German occupation. The Gestapo had contacted the SS RSHA to clarify the measures to be used against her; Ernst Kaltenbrunner ordered her to be gassed, as he considered her a “degenerate artist of deluded Jewish hegemony.” As she was being taken away, she told her daughters, “I am going on a journey now.” She was brought to a convoy assembly camp at Pithiviers and on 17 July 1942, together with 928 other Jewish deportees, transported to German concentration camp Auschwitz. Upon her arrival there two days later, her forearm was marked with anidentification number. She died a month later of typhus. On 6 November 1942 her husband, Michel Epstein, was sent to Auschwitz and immediately put to death in a gas chamber.[4;