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Suite Francaise
by Nemirovsky, Irene
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1. As noted in the appendix, Irene Nemirovsky intended to write this novel in 5 parts, or 5 novellas&&.1. Storm, 2. Dolce, 3. Captivity, 4.Battles?, and 5. Peace?, but only 2 were penned and they differ in style. How do they differ? Do you prefer one over the other? What accounts for that preference? Why do you think she chose to write them differently?

2. History, including memoirs, sometimes mellows when viewed through the lens of time. Nemirovsky though, wrote Suite Francaise as it was happening during the war years 1939-1942. She fictionalized her immediate life and kept the writing emotionally neutral and relatively non-reactive. Was that believable for you? Why did she do it that way?

3. How does the interaction between the French villagers and the German soldiers strike you? Is it what you would expect under the circumstances? Does Nemirovskys description of their interactions jibe with what you learned from history?

4. Was Nemirovsky intending to spotlight the French class structure, or was she simply describing who and what she saw? If she intentionally chose to focus on class , what statements does she make? How did she feel about her adopted country, having come to France from Russia when she was 16?

5. One mark of good fiction is that the reader care about the characters in the story. Who did you grow to care about? Did you wish any characters had been more fully developed; who? Would that have strengthened the novel?

6. When all is said and done, what stays in your mind more strongly, the book itself OR the circumstances surrounding its publication? Given that Nemirovsky was already quite well published, does it seem plausible that her daughters kept the manuscript for 64 years before reading it and doing something with it?

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