Do you agree with Paul Gray of The New York Times who questions that she wrote these novellas contemporaneously, as might first be suspected?  He believes they were written within just a few months of her being taken to a concentration camp from where she was moved to Auschwitz and died in an infirmary.

Gray calls the book “stunning” do you agree?

Given the detail, the depth, and the goings on around her, how do you think she managed to keep the script on such a human level?  Ie: without prejudice for some of her characters…the French seemed almost more to flee than fight, cooperate than refuse, and be intimidated by than repulsed even to the point of some of the women feeling loving toward their captors?  This is a known albeit unusual phenomenon…

Presented were only two of maybe five novellas that were to be included in this book, which of the two stories did you prefer?

Did the fact that it was not published until 64 years later (1941 – 2005) and that was an unfinished work have an affect on you?  How?

At first, did you wonder about the relationship to IN of Denise Epstein (dedication and acknowledgment)?  And, which translator did what?  Sandra Smith (2005) and preface to French edition by Myriam Anissimov who mentions at the top of the first page, Irene Nemirovsky wrote:
                        To lift such a heavy weight,
                        Sisyphus, you will need all your courage.
                        I do not lack the courage to complete the task
                        But the goal is far and time is short.

                        The Wine of Solitude by Irene Nemirovsky (1935) for Irene Nemirovsky

Was this quote of hers a foreshadowing to how she felt at the time of writing Suite Francaise?

Speaking of foreshadowing, as you read “Storm in June” did you see any?  How about correlations:  ie: Storm in June (3, 1940) and story’s ending – a storm in March; Alfred Langelet described as a cat (Alfred); JeanMarie replacing Benoit Sabarie who later married Madeleine,; Brothers Hubert running off and serving while Philip the priest does not; the Banker Furiers and the disgusting Corbin; or even Corbin’s wife and the dancer Arlette; Jean and Maurice Michaud and Gabriele Corte and Florence?

Did you read the Appendix first or last and what influence did it have with your interpretation of the book?  In either case, could you follow her sense of order between her notes and the written work?

In the appendix, PG 380, she writes: in times like these a crook is worth more than an honest man.  Do you  agree, given the context?  And who were her crooks?  Langelet certainly was – he stole petrol – as was Corbin – stole his wife’s jewels and left the Michaud’s behind in lieu of taking Arlette, and Benoit for stealing food.  Where they worthy?


Opening chapter really sets the scene…

How did the clipped short sentences add to the story?

Ch 20 – an entire chapter from the eyes of a cat!!  Did you notice how many cat references she made of her characters?  Ex. PG 129 Langelet “like a cat when it purrs” and PG 130 another cat reference.


Pg 121 – 128:  the death of Louis-August Pericand…

By CH 25, I was getting confused on the characters.  Who was Adrien Percaud, son and heir to the fortune of Louis-August Pericand?

The “Storm in June” portion seemed romanticized to me in spite of the horrors, written in the vein of “The Great Gatsby”.  Anyone have a similar feeling?

The best part was the death of Philip, the priest.  Sort of like “The Lord of the Flies”….Kill the pig, slay his throat, bash him in…


DOLCE           “SWEET”

More correlations/foreshadowing.  Sweet – Cake; women in love with Germans; children playing with Germans; was it a “sweet” life?

A cat (Alfred) was featured in “Storm” but it was a dog (Bubi) in “Dolce”.

Lucille struggles with her emotions over Bruno until it is clear when Benoit stays in her home and must be smuggled to Paris.  In the appendix, PG 383, Irene Nemirovsky states “for Dolce, a woman of honor can admit without shame these unexpected emotions that reason can tame.”

Pg 385: “All action is a battle; the only business is peace.”

Pg 387: the “indirect method”…what do you think this means?