Wednesday, May 2, 2007
This is an incredible book by a well known writer (Russian-Jew-French) at the moment. Like many others she was deported to Auschwitz, were she died. Her daughters found the novel (two in one) and considered publishing it after more than 60 years. The first of the novels is called 'Storm in June', and the second, 'Dolce'. This one highlights amazing perceptions of the situation in France during WWII. One character describes the german soldiers at the moment of occupation in France as "The boots... the sound of his boots..." Instead of focusing on grand digressions about the war, these characters embody the particularities of war in subtle, minimal ways: "The war and the tragedy of 1940 would be no more than a memory, a page in history, the names of battles and treaties children would recite in school, but as for me, for as long as I live, I will never forget the low, regular sound of those boots pacing across the floorboards" (224-5): Incredible insight and complexity of emotions. Ruth Kluger wrote a review of this book some time ago. Worth analyzing are the appendixes that show Irene Nemirovsky's handwritten notes: chilling!