My beach reading this week has been Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky. It was actually my choice for the May book club meeting; and a book that I knew nothing of prior to ordering through Amazon. Usually, I don’t take chances with book club selections because our reading group is pretty serious and very discriminating (as well as amusingly disclaiming), but Némirovsky’s work has proven itself as one that lends itself well to discussion on many different levels. I’m glad I took the risk…
The prompts I plan to present at next week’s meeting:
Némirovsky worked on her unfinished “novel” while a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp and where she eventually died. The story presented in Suite Française, while written as fiction, includes elements of truth that could legitimately be construed as biographical. In fact, the published work includes notes, letters, and other documents belonging to Némirovsky, her husband, and her family. Could (or should) this “novel” be considered a representation of historical value because of its biographical content? [I think so…]
Does Suite Française have “enough of a story” to stand alone as a plausible work? Considering that it is unfinished (according to the author’s original outline), where does this leave the reader in the context of the book’s purpose and its literary value?
How many times and by whom does Némirovsky portray herself?
For more information about Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, visit this link to NYT Sunday Book Review. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/books/review/09gray.html?ex=1302235200&en=efa79839c42f4089&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss