by Sukey HowardJuly 2006
<b>Sukey's favorite</b>There's an amazing back story worthy of a novel itself to <b>Suite Francaise</b>, superbly read here by Daniel Oreskes and Barbara Rosenblat. Irene Nemirovsky, a Ukrainian Jew by birth, was well established in the French literary scene when she began these two extraordinary novellas (five were planned) in 1941. In effect, she was writing in real time, capturing the massive exodus from Paris in June 1940 on the eve of the Nazi invasion and the occupation as it was experienced in a small town through the following year, without the benefit of knowing the war's outcome, without the benefit of time and distance. Yet, she had a profound understanding of how this most dreadful of spectacles revealed people in their multifaceted, contradictory, surprising complexity from the kind and heroic to the savagely selfish and base. Nemirovsky's prose is elegant, her understanding eloquent. She died in Auschwitz in 1942, but her voice is enduring.