“Suite Francaise” by Irene Nemirovsky

I often think that a good book, unlike a good movie or a TV show, is best when it deals with the saddest events and emotions. It may be a perverted thought, but my reasoning is that I get enough happiness and leisure in my daily life, I don’t really experience anything harsh (*touch wood*), so one of the ways to even know how to be considerate and compassionate is through books. That’s why I most enjoyed African American literature when I was studying English Language and Literature. That’s why I like books related to wars as well, but not as in war at the front and the battle line, but rather as in war for those left behind, war for the single soldier going through all these inexplicable and diverse emotions.

“Suite Francaise”, is just as sad and poignant as the story behind how it got published as a book (the author, Irene Nemirovsky, of Jewish descendant, died in a concentration camp before she could finish this book. It’s only years later, when her daughters finally gathered the courage to go through her manuscripts that they were able to organize what their mother left behind and publish it). However, a clueless reader would easily go through the book without discerning the true misery and impact of wars on the daily lives of those left behind in their homes. Because the language is so plain, the descriptions so nonchalant and the emotions barely surfacing. But if you look behind the monotone facade, you see the ugliness of the human race brought out by war, the absence of freedom in emotions, and the invisible barrier between those occupying and those occupied.

After all, I guess, just like any other tragedy, wars also constitute situations of reality you have to learn to cope with, whether it is by sinking to the lowest point as a human being, or renewing and discovering feelings of love you thought you would never have. Although somewhat monotone, Nemirovsky brings out the most ‘ordinary’ people can be in such a situation.


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