Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Suite Francaise (by Irene Nemirovsky)

Well, there were mixed feelings about this book at the October 20th meeting. Some didn't love it to death...although we all had a certain amount of appreciation for the author, her "Russian" writing technique (multiple characters, etc.), and the circumstances under which she wrote.

Some were confused by the number of characters and had a difficult time keeping them straight. Some were baffled at the kind portrayal of the German officers....and the cruelty of some of the characters. There was a lot of discussion around the circumstances brought about by war, and the aftermath of battle, the issue of the Jews in concentration camps, and the prejudice associated with Nazi Germany during WWII.

All in all, it was a VERY interesting meeting.

We welcomed a few new members, and although we have a MeetUp following of over 60 readers, our turn out is less than a quarter of that. You ladies and gentlemen that don't come out, please make an effort. There's several connected meetings that are held in restaurants and generally on Saturdays, so there's plenty of chances to participate. Please come out!!!

From the Jacket:
By the early l940s, 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 thirty-nine. 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 Némirovsky's literary masterpiece.