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Friday, December 01, 2006

Reader's Diary #197- Irene Nemirovsky: Suite Francaise (up to "Storm in June", Ch. 25)

In my first post about this book I mentioned that people were shedding their former selves by abandoning their material possessions and realizing what was truly important. That wasn't the case for everyone. Some characters had done the opposite. In the last moments before leaving, some took precious time to hide valuables in nooks and crannies, or else try to stash them in already crammed suitcases and cars.

I remembered this contrast and bring it up now because such differences have become my focus in the book. I love the different traits and personalities explored by Nemirovsky. How easy is it to group victims together as one homogeneous group? Yet it seems to have been one of Nemirovsky's goals to remind readers that this was not the case. In one of the most intense illustrations of contrasts, she writes,

"Panic-stricken, some of the women threw down their babies as if they were cumbersome packages and ran. Others grabbed their children and held them so tightly they seemed to want to force them back into the womb, as if that were the only truly safe place."


Wow.

2 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

This book is sounding more and more compelling all the time. When does your book club meet to discuss this?

John Mutford said...

On the 14th. If there's anything interesting, I'll try and remember to post it.