Club Picks Sweet French Story

suite.jpgThe River City fiction book club has once again selected a winner. Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky will be discussed at the club’s meeting Tuesday, May 1 meeting (7 p.m., downstairs at RCB). Not only is this book — new in paperback — a riveting tale, I think the back story behind its release, decades after it was written, is nothing short of amazing in its own right.

Here’s how the publisher describes it:

By the early l940s, when Ukrainian-born Irè ne Né mirovsky began working on what would become “Suite Franç aise” — 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 Né mirovsky’s literary masterpiece for the first time.

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