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.

2 comments:

  1. I recently read your post about Irène Némirovsky and wanted to let you know about an exciting new exhibition about her life, work, and legacy that opened on September 24, 2008 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage —A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, which will run through the middle of March, will include powerful rare artifacts — the actual handwritten manuscript for Suite Française, the valise in which it was found, and many personal papers and family photos. The majority of these documents and artifacts have never been outside of France. For fans of her work, this exhibition is an opportunity to really “get to know” Irene. And for those who can’t visit, there will be a special website that will live on the Museum’s site www.mjhnyc.org.

    The Museum will host several public programs over the course of the exhibition’s run that will put Némirovsky’s work and life into historical and literary context. Book clubs and groups are invited to the Museum for tours and discussions in the exhibition’s adjacent Salon (by appointment). It is the Museum’s hope that the exhibit will engage visitors and promote dialogue about this extraordinary writer and the complex time in which she lived and died. To book a group tour, please contact Tracy Bradshaw at 646.437.4304 or tbradshaw@mjhnyc.org. Please visit our website at www.mjhnyc.org for up-to-date information about upcoming public programs or to join our e-bulletin list.

    Thanks for sharing this info with your readers. If you need any more, please do not hestitate to contact me at hfurst@mjhnyc.org

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  2. Helpful review which I've linked to on mine. Thanks.

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