Customer Reviews for

Suite Francaise

Average Rating 4
( 98 )
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5 Star

(47)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Enlightening

While most reviews of this book I've ever read place the bulk of its importance on the fact that its author died during the Holocaust, I think that it stands as an excellent piece of literature alone, detached from its author's sad death. I believe it could easily take ...
While most reviews of this book I've ever read place the bulk of its importance on the fact that its author died during the Holocaust, I think that it stands as an excellent piece of literature alone, detached from its author's sad death. I believe it could easily take its place in the literary canon.

Nemirovsky was an excellent author who truly captured the human experience with remarkable clarity. It made me completely re-evaluate the entire way I looked at World War II (and I have studied that conflict a lot). I am saddened that its greatness is often glazed over when most people discuss it, with their attention focused on the author's death. Quite frankly, I think her life and her work is much more important than the horrible things the Nazi did to her.

posted by Novellete on May 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Angela shikany

Too expensive.

posted by Anonymous on February 8, 2013

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  • Posted May 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Enlightening

    While most reviews of this book I've ever read place the bulk of its importance on the fact that its author died during the Holocaust, I think that it stands as an excellent piece of literature alone, detached from its author's sad death. I believe it could easily take its place in the literary canon.

    Nemirovsky was an excellent author who truly captured the human experience with remarkable clarity. It made me completely re-evaluate the entire way I looked at World War II (and I have studied that conflict a lot). I am saddened that its greatness is often glazed over when most people discuss it, with their attention focused on the author's death. Quite frankly, I think her life and her work is much more important than the horrible things the Nazi did to her.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2008

    Alas, I want to know how it ends!

    What a great book! The characters were so engrossing, so real. She was on the run when she wrote this, I know, but how her mind worked so clearly while in such danger is beyond me. What imagination! At our Lazy Girls Book Club in February 2008 we said that we will ask her in heaven how she intended to continue and then wrap up the characters' lives. You will enjoy this book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2007

    One of my all time favorites!

    This book is so beautiful that it makes you cry, curse, laugh and smile all at once. Nemirovsky was a BRILLIANT writer, and the stories told within Suite Francaise are absolute masterpieces. The author captures the emotions of war and love expertly, and she is one of the rare authors who writes with an authority that makes her tales more realistic than a movie could. Words cannot describe how brilliant this book is, unless if you read the words contained in the book itself. Suite Francaise is a must read for anyone who loves books!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2006

    A Profoundly Beautiful Book

    I had never heard of Irene Nemirovsky before reading Paul Gray¿s review in the New York Times. In a casual conversation with a friend who also loves to read, I mentioned how intriguing Suite Française sounded. Little did I know that it would become one of my most cherished gifts a few days later. Suite Française is a beautifully written book. I am in awe of both Nemirovsky¿s gifts and that of her translator, Sandra Smith. If a translation can read with such grace and immediacy, I find it hard to imagine what it must be like to immerse oneself in the original. There are many rather surprising things about the book to this reader. All characters come across as believable. The qualities and defects of the cast are portrayed as part of the human condition much more so than as national traits ¿ and national traits are compassionately accepted as part of the human condition. The Germans are not portrayed so much as the enemy. War is the enemy. The warring instinct of nations is seen as a force over which the common human is powerless. Nemirovsky seems to be portraying our plight as an attempt to steal some moments of love and happiness between and even during times of conflict. The plight of the Jews is never treated. Especially, when the reader knows how the author met her death, this comes as a surprise. The inclusion of her correspondence and that of her husband as an appendix is most enlightening and profoundly disturbing. In fact, that is the most disturbing part of the whole volume. This book was a rare and deeply rewarding find. I am only afraid that by publishing this reader¿s review I may have spoiled the surprise of the next gift-giving occasion for friends who love to read as much as I.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A more contemporary classic

    I enjoyed the book. I think it's important to look at it in the aspect of the writer's personal history...as well as a history to which she was a witness. I don't think her intention was to portray the Jewish plight (as stated on the back over---it was the French that she focused on: Suite Francaise). I think it's a subject that hasn't received the attention that the holocaust has and therefore provides a different aspect of the war. Interesting read for sure. Some Advanced Placement teachers have been using this as a text in their classrooms. I didn't enjoy it to that extent, myself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Angela shikany

    Too expensive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 25, 2011

    VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

    I HAD THIS BOOK FOR A LONG TIME, FINALLY GOT AROUND TO READING IT AND SO GLAD I DID.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Rich sociological inside story of the German occupation of France during WWII

    It consist on two different books which are slightly related, presumably the autor intended to write more parts but was detained and taken to Austchwitz concentration camp due to her Jewish condition, long before, the time of completion.
    The time is the Second World War, France undergoing the German occupation, not and epic tale but a dissection of the social fabric of the French society living under this extraordinary circunstances, basically it focus on how they feel leaving their Paris homes in the first volume and how the people of the rural town of Bussy interact with the German soldiers billeted in their homes in the second. It sharply focus on the exchanges happening in this forced temporal relationship, bringing about small stories, refined with many remarks that can be deemed as pieces of wisdom. Though the author was born in Russia, the tale is written from the viewpoint of someone who has a wide knowledge of the way of life of the French society, particularly the Middle and Upper Middle classes. The ending, at the time, the German army leaves for the Eastern front in Russia, allows as I have mentioned, for a sequel. Almost no reference to Hitler, Nazi, Allied Forces and other typical elements of the WWII is being made, so it is a very distinct tale.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Don't miss this jewel!

    Does it get any better than this? Beautifully written, believable characters, and an spellbinding story line make this book impossible to put down. Perfect!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Moving and Poignant

    The novel is poignant and moving... but considering it was never finished and the circumstances surrounding Nemirovsky's life during WWII... it makes a tremendous impact. You must read the notes and correspondence following the novel to understand the relevance the story has to life during the war. Amazing book... highly recommended.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2014

    I expected so much more...so many wonderful reviews... I remembe

    I expected so much more...so many wonderful reviews...
    I remember the stunning review in the NYTimes....
    But reading the book was such a disappointment...
    The characters and storyline was so predictable...the good people...the bad people...
    And I hate to use the word...but boring...rarely stop before I finish the book...but after half way through,
    and not really caring about anyone or being intrigued with what will happen next, I threw it out...
    Yes I feel compassion for Nemirovsky and the miracle of her daughters publishing the book...

    but compassionate background story did not make for a good read...or a great novel...sorry..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    A must read!

    A fascinating look at Paris burning and the massive exit from the city during World War II seen through the eyes of the author who (while writing this book)was living in the french countryside until her capture by the Nazis. The french and german characters are spell binding and will keep you wanting to turn page after page. Although the author never finishes Sweet Francaise and what is amazing is that her lack of an ending does not shape her book or affect a beautifully written story.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    A stunning and heartbreaking book. I could not put it down.

    Suite Francaise is one of the most important books I have read in some time. I have given it to several people and have recommended it to several more. Without exception, every person to whom I have givin or recommended the book thanked me.

    How tragic that Irene Nemirovsky perished in a concentration camp and we were robbed of her talent. I believe that Suite Francaise should be required reading in every high school in America, perhaps the world.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    Superior Story Made Powerful By Author's Gift of Description

    Effective, powerful writing plus strong subject matter equals an engrossing book that succeeds in telling a unique story of often-told subject matter.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    Terrific

    An intimate look at a time and place which are unfamiliar--and unimaginable--to most of us. The characters and storylines are fascinating.

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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    To Truly Appreciate The Book Read Don't Skip Section Related to the Author

    To truly appreciate this book it is important to understand the circumstances of the author. With that knowledge this piece is a fascinating read. I did find the first section difficult to get into because of the choppy development of the characters. However, I really appricated her ability to humanize the German soldiers during a time she was apprehensive about her fate. It is interesting to contemplate how the subsequest sections would have developed if she had lived to see the progress of the war

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  • Posted June 4, 2009

    Best foreign novel I've read

    This book had the most captivating first chapter, which says a lot about a book. The first chapter wasn't even about specific people! Needless to say, I was hooked. There are two parts ("books"), and the first is about a big, rich family, a painter and his mistress, and a poor couple who only have each other. These people are fleeing from Paris and the Nazis with floods of people along with them. The second part is about some of the people mentioned in the first who didn't really make an appearance and other people in a small French town occupied by the Nazis. While translated from French, this is a remarkably readable book. This is the only book I can honestly call gripping, and it is slightly sad and grim while also being light-hearted at times.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

    I had expected this book to be a holocaust story, or a kind of diary, but it is not. It is focused around people fleeing Paris for the countryside as the Germans approach during WWII, and then various people's experiences during the occupation. The lives of several people - many of them bordering on caricatures - are followed, so there are interwoven story lines. The author's use of language is lovely, the circumstances are engrossing, and the whole thing tragic especially since she was ultimately deported.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2008

    Mischaracterization of subject of book

    It is disappointing to find Suite Francais listed under books about 'Jewish History'. One of the often noted weaknesses of this book is that it never mentions the Jewish population of France in its account of the French grappling with fear, denial and cruelty to one another during the Nazi occupation. It is difficult to understand how the author--herself Jewish--ignored all aspects of the impact of the Nazi occupation and the French complicity with it on the Jews of France. While she was certainly free to write about any fictionalized account she wanted, this book is clearly not about Jewish History and should be listed under a different subject. Finally, the book is simply not that well-written. There are absolutely no likeable characters in it -- it is not possible to feel sympathy, empathy or even concern for the characters. This book simply does not merit the ovations it has heretofor received.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    Good buy not overly impressed

    The beginning of the novel was very hard for me to get into as I found I detested the main characters with the exception of Michaud's. I kept thinking that it has to get better and it does half way through the book. I found the writing style to be hard to follow at times and overly descriptive to point that it takes away from the story line. The end of the book second half of the novel made up for the first half of the story. I would never put this book in a list of must reads or favorites.

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