Suite Francaise
by Irene Nemirovsky
Kindle Edition-

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together ...

Overall rating:


How would you rate this book?

Member ratings

  "Well written, descriptive character studies." by Jobanna (see profile) 04/19/07

We enjoyed this book and the descriptions of this time period. Most excellent were the author's insights into daily ordinary life and her characters and their reactions to the events of the times.

  "The first novella has to do with the flight from Paris and the French defeat; the second, with life in a village under the occupation." by mmwenzel (see profile) 07/18/07

  "WOW!!! Amazing book!" by dmc1230 (see profile) 08/03/07

This was my favorite book this summer. The story behind the story is even more enthralling. How did this manuscript ever survive? But I'm so glad it did! It takes a little time to get the characters straight but this is beautifully written and gripping. EXCELLENT!

  "It's Paris, 1941, and the Germans are coming...." by tompatrice (see profile) 03/07/08

Nemirovsky transports the reader to the city of Paris in 1941 on the eve of the German occupation. In unemotional prose, she tells the stories of seemingly unrelated characters, first in the city of Paris, and then in the countryside, and gradually weaves the tales together thoughtfully, believably and before you know it, you're emotionally involved in their various plights.

Part One tells the story of the eve of the German occupation of Paris through a series of character sketches. Part Two is story of how the German occupiers coexist with the French in the countryside. Nemirovsky tells both sides of the story with compassion.

But perhaps the most powerful part of the book is the afterward which describes, through Nemirovsky's own notes and letters, the incredible story of the novelists plight and the 2-part novel that remained hidden for 60 years. It's not unlike the story of Anne Frank, and your heart breaks as you read the pleading letters of Nemirovsky's husband, and learn of the fate of her two children.

  "Was not what I expected and was somewhat of a difficult read but interesting selection nevertheless because of the circumstances surrounding its preservation." by swarner87 (see profile) 05/11/08

Most ladies in our club thought that this book was a "hard read" and some didn't finish reading it. It was difficult to get into and wasn't the most interesting book. However, those of us who read it were glad that we did and the book actually made for very good discussion. NOTE: It helped to know ahead of time that the book contains two separate and very distinctly different novels. Not knowing this before reading was a bit confusing to some in our group.

  "Be sure to read the notes in the back of the book!!" by suebooksri (see profile) 05/16/08

Our book club loved this book. Knowing the history behind it and keeping that in mind while reading makes it even better. Although the book itself is very good, what we really loved about it was the notes in the back that track what was happening during the writing of the book. If you miss that, you miss half the story. Truly one of our best discussions.

  "Interesting Slice" by corizzo (see profile) 08/21/10

While the value in this book was that it was written during the events themselves, it doesn't really get off the ground. The author is consumed more with character development than documenting what was really happening around her. Perhaps that was for self-preservation, though. A better book club choice would be Mary Doria Russel's A Thread of Grace. While it is fiction, it will cleave to your emotions.

  "Suite Francaise" by Shawnda (see profile) 02/14/11

This book was confusing and difficult to follow in part one, but part two was easy to follow and seemed like a different book. I liked the book, it is not the kind of book I would typically pick for myself, but I am glad I read it.

  "Incredible book (4.5 stars)" by 1morechapter (see profile) 02/14/11

Suite Française is the incredible incomplete set of novels by Irene Nemirovsky, a Russian Jew who had been living in Paris for 10 years before ultimately dying in Auschwitz. The preface to the French edition states that:

She dreamed of a book of a thousand pages, constructed like a symphony, but in five sections, according to rhythm and tone. She took Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as a model.

Sadly, only two of the planned five were completed. In these stories, she creates such vivid characters and situations that it is a shame we never get to find out what happened to them. She was a fine writer. Her characters were so well-defined; I cared about the worthy ones and loathed the loathsome ones. Even in her description of the latter, there was humor to be found. Both good and bad die, and of course the question is always, “Why?” The accounts of the flight from Paris as the Germans descended on them during 1940 were chilling and frighteningly relevant to what could happen today. Then, during the section depicting the occupation of France, I was most surprised at her portrayal of the German soldiers, in which some could be seen as sympathetic.

Her two daughters had kept these stories in a suitcase for years, not even looking at them as it was too painful. When one of her daughters did finally take out the papers to type them, she found this wonderful, incomplete novel and it was published in France in 2004, sixty-two years after her death in 1942.

Highly recommended.

  "Suite Francaise" by missidgie (see profile) 02/15/11

I wish my book group had waited awhile to read this book. We discussed it at only our second meeting, and I felt a little unprepared. While I enjoyed our discussion, I think I would have gotten more out of the book if we'd had more meetings of the book group before we read it. It takes awhile, I think, to get to know people and feel comfortable talking freely with them. This book was challenging and thought-provoking; it deals with some sensitive issues regarding class and religion as well as war.

  "timeless" by sievanna (see profile) 09/01/11

This book gives the reader a glimpse of the times in Europe during WWll, while revealing human truths that are timeless. People show their true colors when faced with hardship of any kind and these characters really give us a range of human emotions and actions. Quite interesting, entertaining and thought provoking.

  "" by rspringer (see profile) 10/01/15

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/12/16

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/07/18

Remember me

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).



Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...