Sunday, September 23, 2007

In memoriam

I've just finished a novel, a brilliant book that should be required reading for history classes. Irene Nemirovsky, a Russian Jew living in France and famous for her writing, began in 1941 to write a novel about the war and the occupation of France. She never finished it, as she was taken to a concentration camp in 1942 and died there soon after.

Her daughters saved the manuscript, and Suite Francaise has been recently published complete with the author's notes and a heartbreaking collection of letters written by Irene herself and then by her husband who was frantically trying to find and save her. The book itself is a picture of the daily cost of war and enemy occupation.

It is not light reading, but I highly recommend it. It brings history to life from the perspective of an eyewitness, and forces the reader to consider the story of just one of the many innocents lost in that war, innocents whose stories are not recorded but who were nevertheless real, and loved, and mourned.

1 comment:

bubandpie said...

This is on the very large pile of books next to my bed. I read the first chapter to so, but I was put off by how French it was. What do I even mean by that? I don't know - but somehow it's not at all the same as English books written in the same period. Maybe I'll give it another chance when I'm through my Harry Potter re-read.