For our October meeting, the library's Tuesday Night Book Group (which meets at our Berea location) requested a good historical fiction with some "action" ... and Suite Française delivers.
Often deemed “the last great fiction of the war,” Suite Française is a collection of two novellas detailing northern France’s fall to the Nazi advances of 1940. The first section, Storm in June, chronicles the connecting lives of a group of Parisians, who are all fleeing the probable air raids in the city for the safety of the countryside; the group moves just hours ahead of the advancing German army. The second section, Dolce, details life in a French farming village under Nazi occupation in 1941.
Némirovsky, a French writer of Ukranian Jewish origin, completed what was to be the first two sections of a planned five part Suite Française just before being arrested by the Gestapo in 1942. She was detained and months later killed at Auschwitz concentration camp. Suite Française was discovered by Némirovsky’s daughter, who finally published the text in France in 2004. Since then it has been translated into 38 languages, with millions of copies sold worldwide.
While the action in Suite Française may not be as overt as a Tom Clancy novel, it is certainly a story of war. It also offers a unique perspective not only of the Germans' occupation of France, but also of the anxiety of fleeing one's home, city, and identity.
The Tuesday Night Book Group meets on October 26 at 6:30PM at the library's Berea location. Sign-out a copy of the book at the library's circulation desk, then come to the meeting and share your thoughts - we will certainly have much to discuss!