Monday, 7 January 2008
One of the best books I have ever read
This is one of the most powerful and moving books I have ever read. The book is comprised of two parts of unfinished four or five part novel that Irene Nemirovsky conceived as a 'symphony' about war. The first part deals with a disparate group of Parisians as they flee Paris following the fall of France in 1941, the second part follows life in and around a small village in rural France under occupation. Nemirovsky's characters are vividly drawn and complex as they try to come to terms with their changing situation and her greatness as a writer lies in her detachment, her German characters are just as vividly drawn and compelling as her French characters. This is a book which depicts war and how it changes everyone, oppressed and oppressor, for good or evil. Although this is a work of fiction there is a poignancy to reading this as Irene Nemirovsky died in Auschwitz in 1942. The second appendix to the book reproduces the frantic letters and telegrams her husband sent to the authorities and her publisher following her arrest, sadly he was also to die at Auschwitz, in the gas chamber, later that year.