1942, 42 years later

Irene Nemirovsky was deported to Auschwitz in July 1942; she died the next month in the camps. She left a suitcase containing family papers with her daughter, who discovered three decades later that what she’d thought was a journal was actually part of a novel, Suite Francaise.

“Now aged 74, Denise Epstein says the book is not just a novel. “Above all it is a log-book written by my mother through the dark years. All the people she writes about and takes such pains to create — we knew them. All the situations — we lived through them,” she said.

“During the 1930s my mother wanted to believe that France would defend the Jews. Afterwards she was for years seen just as a victim and her talent was forgotten. I hope this book will do justice to what she was above all else — a writer.”

Yup, I’d have to agree that the use of the phrase “literary sensation” is justified.


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