A major event - the first paperback publication of a lost masterpiece written in 2nd WW France and telling the spellbinding story of a group of characters living under Nazi occupation.
In 1941, Irène Némirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, SUITE FRANCAISE would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece.
Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, SUITE FRANCAISE falls into two parts. The first is a brilliant depiction of a group of Parisians as they flee the Nazi invasion and make their way through the chaos of France; the second follows the inhabitants of a small rural community under occupation who find themselves thrown together in ways they never expected. Némirovsky's brilliance as a writer lay in her portrayal of people, and this is a novel that teems with wonderful characters, each more vivid than the next. Haughty aristocrats, bourgeois bankers and snobbish aesthetes rub shoulders with uncouth workers and bolshy farmers. Women variously resist or succumb to the charms of German soldiers. However, amidst the mess of defeat, and all the hypocrisy and compromise, there is hope. True nobility and love exist, but often in surprising places.
Irene Némirovsky conceived of SUITE FRANCAISE as a four- or five-part novel. It was to be a symphony - her War and Peace. Although only two sections were finished before her tragic death, they form a book that is beautifully complete in itself, and awe-inspiring in its understanding of humanity.
“It is quite outstanding, full of beauty, pain and truth...We are lucky to have this book”
Anne Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph
“An irresistible work. Suite Francaise clutches the heart”
Carmen Callil, The Times
“Suite Francaise is the most powerful account of that time and place many of us have ever read...this extraordinary woman's work is receiving the celebration it deserves. I defy anyone to read it without tears of admiration and pity for its author”
Max Hastings, Daily Mail
“Suite Francaise is one of those rare books that demands to be read”
Helen Dunmore, Guardian
“A book of exceptional literary quality, it has the kind of intimacy found in the diary of Anne Frank”
Times Literary Supplement
“What is to me most remarkable is the degree to which Nemirovsky, writing so close to the event, has nevertheless distilled it to extract the significance of each moment and episode. it is literature, not journalism... Her novel is in the classic French tradition, intelligent and sensuous”
“The work of a genuine artist”
Julian Barnes, Writersâ?? and Criticsâ?? pick of 2006, Guardian
“An almost unbearably moving account of the French debacle of 1940”
Robert Frisk, The Week
“Displays an extraordinary human sensitivity”
“[I]t is certain to be the toast of publisher...evokes the heroism, brutality and cowardice of a country under occupation...critics are united in acclaiming it as one of the most important novels about the occupation”