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Download Suite Francaise Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Suite Francaise, by Irène Némirovsky Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Irène Némirovsky Narrator: Daniel Oreskes, Barbara Rosenblat Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2013 ISBN: 9780804148726
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By the early 1940s, when Ukrainian-born Irène Némirovsky began working on what would become Suite Française—the first two parts of a planned five-part novel—she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz: a month later she was dead at the age of thirty-nine. Two years earlier, living in a small village in central France—where she, her husband, and their two small daughters had fled in a vain attempt to elude the Nazisshe’d begun her novel, a luminous portrayal of a human drama in which she herself would become a victim. When she was arrested, she had completed two parts of the epic, the handwritten manuscripts of which were hidden in a suitcase that her daughters would take with them into hiding and eventually into freedom. Sixty-four years later, at long last, we can read Némirovsky’s literary masterpiece.

The first part, “A Storm in June,” opens in the chaos of the massive 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion during which several families and individuals are thrown together under circumstances beyond their control. They share nothing but the harsh demands of survival—some trying to maintain lives of privilege, others struggling simply to preserve their lives—but soon, all together, they will be forced to face the awful exigencies of physical and emotional displacement, and the annihilation of the world they know. In the second part, “Dolce,” we enter the increasingly complex life of a German-occupied provincial village. Coexisting uneasily with the soldiers billeted among them, the villagers—from aristocrats to shopkeepers to peasants—cope as best they can. Some choose resistance, others collaboration, and as their community is transformed by these acts, the lives of these these men and women reveal nothing less than the very essence of humanity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Extraordinary . . . A work of Proustian scope and delicacy, by turns funny and deeply moving, that captures a civilization in its most revealing moment: that of its undoing. Lev Grossman, Time“Stories about World War II seem to occur in black and white, all grainy and bleak. That makes the stunning novel Suite Française, about the German occupation of France, all the more remarkable. As the book opens and the Nazis approach the outskirts of Paris, the June skies are gorgeously bright; later, the narrative is rich with evocations of blossoms and trees heavy with fruit, of fragrant air and the sounds of birds–as well as a scene where a cat claws a bird to death and stabs its tiny heart. Lush beauty is the backdrop to dark events, and so is natural cruelty. The characters who populate this sweeping saga of violence and survival–and who exhibit far more self-interest than virtue–are described with the same gleaming precision. The author of Suite Française is one of the most fascinating literary figures you’ve never heard of–and her own tragic story only deepens the impact of her book . . . The [book’s] first part, ‘Storm in June,’ depicts in brilliant detail the tumultuous exodus from Paris in the summer of 1940 . . . There are harrowing scenes on the roads jammed with refugees . . . The second part, ‘Dolce,’ is quieter, if no less ominous. Set in an occupied village, it delineates the tangled emotions of the conquered and the conquerors . . . Suite Française–gripping, clear-eyed and lyrical–doesn’t seem incomplete. Yet as wonderful as it is, when you read Némirovsky’s notes, included in an appendix, you see the scope of her ambition and you mourn. She was planning a kind of "War and Peace" for the 20th century and, tragically, she never saw how her story could end.
  • A 2007 Book Sense Book of the Year Honoree for Adult Fiction
  • One of the 2006 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction
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