Sunday, 28 September 2008
Suite Française by Irène Nemirovsky
The genesis of this book, and its incomplete state, may be evidence of immense tragedy, but the two volumes of a projected five are detached and often ironic in their depiction of disasters. Courage and cowardice are viewed equally dispassionately, and are show to lead to the same ends, sometimes: Fr Philippe's courage leads only to his murder. The first part is episodic and contingent; the story arc only begins to form a greater narrative in the second volume, where threads and characters are drawn together. Some of the ironies - the breaking of the porcelain figure after Charlie's head is smashed - seem a little forced, but for work in progress the book is extraordinarily well-achieved, and holds its own against the dramatic narrative of its own deliverance from the Holocaust.
Posted by Tanya Izzard at 13:17