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Suite Francaise


Russethouse

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It must be all the talk about it on French fora! [;-)] It is a good & interesting read, well worth it.

On another forum, Suite Francais was doing the rounds, a read it & pass it on thing. If you can't get a copy, look it up on there & see if you can be next on the list. I think you'll find the last person to have it, has not long finished.

Just an idea.[:D]

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My copy of the book is somewhere in la France Profonde at the moment, so you're welcome to borrow it Gay when it turns up. Could be the one you're talking about JayJay. I am Tricia on the other forum. Postage is a bit steep though as it's a hardback. A fascinating read, the kind of book which I need to re-read a few times before everything sinks in.Pat.

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[quote user="Patf"]My copy of the book is somewhere in la France Profonde at the moment, so you're welcome to borrow it Gay when it turns up. Could be the one you're talking about JayJay. I am Tricia on the other forum. Postage is a bit steep though as it's a hardback. A fascinating read, the kind of book which I need to re-read a few times before everything sinks in.Pat.
[/quote]

Aha! Hello Pat, yes it is your copy then. [:)] I should think it's winging it's way back to you now.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Another book by Irene Nemirovsky, written before WW2 has been published in english : David Golder, pub. Vintage £7.99. Reviewed in the Sunday Times book section. Strange as this was the name of one of my work colleagues. Pat.

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  • 2 months later...
[quote user="Russethouse"]

I ordered this at the weekend and went to collect it yesterday - out of stock, having to be reprinted !

I think Blanche Neige read it in hardback - anyone else ? Is it good ?

(LOL the young lady doing the 'search' for it had entered Sweet Francias [:)] on the system!)

[/quote]

 

RH did a) get you copy and b) have you read the book?

I noticed today that our local Waterstones have it in the window.[:)]

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I've just started reading it - & keep asking myself  "am I actually supposed to like any of these characters?"!!

I borrowed it from another forum member - along with Anne Franks Diary.  I'm in for a cheery few weeks........ [:(]

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[quote user="ali-cat"]

I've just started reading it - & keep asking myself  "am I actually supposed to like any of these characters?"!!

I borrowed it from another forum member - along with Anne Franks Diary.  I'm in for a cheery few weeks........ [:(]

[/quote]

Yes, that's right. Visit Tresco, take a week to recover from alcohol poisoning and then relapse into depression when you can see well enough to read the books[:)]

Anne Franks' diary isn't depressing, apart from in the very obvious way. 

Some of the characters in Suite Francaise are unsypmathetic, yes, but not all of them, and anyway, I don't think she set out to engender liking or even sympathy, just a description of various realities in wartime/occupation. Sometimes even with the 'unlikeable' characters, I felt sympathy for them...that's not something I generally feel for a character someone has gone out of their way to stage as a 'baddie'.  I'll need to read it again to work out how/why she did that...

All that said, I do think it was hyped. I really need to read one of her finished novels to get a better feel for her.

Sorry if this is garbled. I have tried to reply three times and lost it to gobbledygook computer madness.

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Tresco

I agree with your comments about the characters in Suite Francaise, I think the author  gave a good insight to life as it really was during the occupation.

BTW I don't think the book was hyped but each to his own.................I read it in the original French and felt it was one of the best I had read for a long time.

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I didn't mean to imply it wasn't a very good book, Blanche N; just that due to the circumstances it got a massive amount of publicity.

It was the best (by a long shot) of the books I picked up last time I went to England.

 

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[quote user="Tresco"]

I didn't mean to imply it wasn't a very good book, Blanche N; just that due to the circumstances it got a massive amount of publicity.

It was the best (by a long shot) of the books I picked up last time I went to England.

 

[/quote]

ah, now I am with you Tresco. I heard a revue on BBC radio 4 and reviewers were critical of the translation and thought expressions etc. were too modern day.

 

Think I might buy it for my sister.

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I thought it was a wonderful book. It might almost be worth reading the notes at the end first, as the circumstances under which it was written, kept safe and finally published give it an extra dimension. Of course by doing that you are in danger of spoiling the story, but the fact that she died before it could be finished makes the direction of the plots in the finished volumes and her plans for the characters in the final, unwritten volumes really fascinating. (Sorry this is a bit of a convoluted sentence, hope you understand what I mean!)

regards

Lisa

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Lisa

".................the fact that she died before it could be finished makes the direction of the plots in the finished volumes and her plans for the characters in the final, unwritten volumes really fascinating."

You have made a good point I think it is essential to know the background and also to realise how she wrote the story in secret in a tiny book and how it finally came to light years later.

For me it was one of those books that I couldn't stop reading yet I didn't want it to end.

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[quote user="LisaJ"]...the fact that she died before it could be finished makes the direction of the plots in the finished volumes and her plans for the characters in the final, unwritten volumes really fascinating. (Sorry this is a bit of a convoluted sentence, hope you understand what I mean!)[/quote]

Lisa, I haven't got the book with me, but from the comments she made on what she had already written, and her plans for the rest, I got the impression she planned to re-work the parts now published. Did you?

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Yes I think she would definitely have revised it - but I marvel at how much foresight and understanding she showed, given how close to the actual events it was written. I think if she had lived (and used her foresight to get out of France in time?) then it could have been one of the great literary works of the century, on a War and Peace scale.

Does anyone else think that it seems that she almost resigned herself to her fate in staying put?

regards

Lisa

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  • 4 years later...

I am reviving this thread as I have just found a copy of this book which I found a little quirky but enthralling. The way it is broken down into short chapters seems to lend itself to being dipped into from time to time, but I found difficulty putting it down and read the whole thing in a few sessions.

The book itself (incomplete as a "suite" as, had the author not been murdered by the N azis, further sections were to follow) is not as depressing as its theme might suggest (the evacuation of Paris as the Germans invade; then life in a part of occupied France); but the appendix giving factual details of what happened to the author and her husband is heart-rending. As for the thought of the Gestapo and French police spending the rest of the war trying to hunt down their little girls, presumably so they could share the same dreadful fate as the parents in Auschwitz, well.....

Certainly well worth a read. I personally thought the translator did a good job of catching the spirit of the writing and giving it a natural flow. If a translator tries to adhere too closely to the original, it can read as a translation rather than as a novel.

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AZ, I too read this very recently after I found it in a secondhand book shop.

I was so intriqued by the idea of the demarcation lines that I asked the mayor of our village where our line was.  Turned out it was only a couple of hundred yards from our house.

Our village was in the Free Zone and he showed me an old photo of the checkpoint where part of our road can be seen.

As you say, it was desperately sad, what happened to the author and her husband.  It doesn't bear thinking about, how any or perhaps all, of us could, under certain circumstances, act with such  a complete lack of compassion and a total disregard for human life as the people of the German regime at the time.

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I read this book a couple of years ago. Its immediacy was gripping, since most other books I've read that covered the same subject were written long after the events.

When Irene and her husband decamped from Paris, they lived in a farmhouse in the village of Issy l'Eveque. From there she was taken to the police station at Toulon-sur Arroux before being transported to Paris and then on to Auschwitz. Our house is near to both those villages, and I have found out that the house she lived in has been made into a museum, though I haven't seen it yet.

How heart-wrenchingly sad that she did not live to see the outcome of what she was writing about. And what a loss to the literary world.

A dark time in French history.

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I read this a few years ago - found it a bit hard going at the time.  Gave my book to a charity shop.  Since we moved in April and when not it France, I help out in the Bristish Red Cross shop. Over the past few weeks we've had three copies donated.  Maybe I'll buy one and read it again..
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