If you read nothing else this year, read this book.
Irene Nemirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903, the daughter of a successful Jewish banker. In 1918 her family fled the Russian Revolution for France where she became a bestselling novellist. Prevented from publishing when the Germans occupied France in 1940, she moved with her husband and two small daughters from Paris to the safety of the small village of Issy l’Eveque (in German occupied territory). It was here that Irene began writing Suite Francaise. She died in Auschwitz in 1942.
By coincidence, I read an article about Fiona Bruce (she of the BBC’s Ten O’Clock News) today and her life in books. She also chose Suite Francaise – she wrote,“you think you can’t learn anything new and more distressing about the Holocaust, but there’s the story of how, after the war, the families of the incarcerated would go to the Gare de L’Est to see if their loved ones had returned. Nemirovsky’s daughters went every day to see if their parents would come back. In the end, of course, they never did.”
Read this book, you’ll be glad you did.