Critical Overview

Nemirovsky's novel Suite Française (published first in France in 2004 and later translated and publishing in English in 2007) has received much attention from the press. The story surrounding this novel is extremely touching, helping to promote the public's interest, which in turn pushed it to bestseller status. But critics were also impressed with Nemirovsky's writing as well as her ability to perceive and interpret what was happening around her in the midst of so much chaos.

Only the first two parts of Nemirovsky's work were completed before she died. Ironically, the third part was to be called “Captivity”. This is ironic because shortly after completing the first two parts of her story, Nemirovsky was taken away by the German authorities to a concentration camp.

While Nemirovsky tried desperately to avoid what she sensed was her fate, she wrote to keep herself from falling into despair. Most critics praise the author for this great effort.

Alan Cheuse, writing for World Literature Today, describes this novel in this way: "a beautifully restrained pair of novels about the chaos and suffering immediately following the fall of Paris....The picture Némirovsky gives us of that scene is quietly disturbing."

Because of Nemirovsky's very close experience with the war and the occupation in France, she was able to give a first-hand account. Not only does she share her experiences, though, she had the rare gift of being able to distance herself from what was going on around her in order to offer insights that clarify her circumstances. As Judy Oppenheimer, writing for the Baltimore Jewish Times, puts it: "Nemirovsky's skill at painting the world of wartime France is nothing short of brilliant, her book illuminates parts of the war rarely portrayed in fiction before." Mark Andre Singer, of the Library Journal, states it differently. He writes that Nemirovsky's novel is a...

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