By the early 1940s, when Ukrainian-born Irene Nemirovsky began working on what would become Suite Francaise - the first two parts of a planned five-part novel - she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz a month later she was dead at the age of thirty-nine. Two years earlier, living in a small village in central France - where she, her husband, and their two small daughters had fled in a vain attempt to elude the Nazis - shed begun her novel, a luminous portrayal of a human drama in which she herself would become a victim.
When she was arrested, she had completed two parts of the epic; her daughters took the manuscript with them into hiding. Sixty-four years later, at long last, we can read Nemirovskys literary masterpiece The first part, A Storm in June, opens in the chaos of the massive 1940 exodus from Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion, during which several families and individuals are thrown together under circumstances beyond their control. In the second part, Dolce, we enter the increasingly complex life of a German-occupied provincial village.
Coexisting uneasily with the soldiers billeted among them, the villagers - from aristocrats to shopkeepers to peasants - cope as best they can.