- Used Books
- Staff Picks
- Gifts & Gift Cards
- Sell Books
- Stores & Events
- Let's Talk Books
Special Offers see all
More at Powell's
Recently Viewed clear list
This title in other editions
Suite Francaiseby Irene Nemirovsky
Reading Group Guide
1. Which of the two parts of Suite Française do you prefer? Which structural organization did you find more effective: the short chapters and multiple focus of Storm in June, or the more restricted approach of Dolce?
2. What is the significance of the title Dolce?
3. “He recalled the cars full of officers running away with their beautiful yellow trunks and their painted women, civil servants abandoning their posts, panic-stricken politicians dropping files of secret papers along the road, young girls, who had diligently wept the day the armistice was being signed, being comforted in the arms of Germans. ‘And to think that no one will know, that there will be such a conspiracy of lies that all this will be transformed into yet another glorious page in the history of France.”
Storm in June, p.173
How does Suite Française undermine the long-held view of French resistance to the German occupation?
4. Discuss Irène Némirovskys approach to class in Suite Française. How do the rich, poor and the middle classes view one another? How do they help or hinder one another? Are the bonds of class or nationality closer to the front of their minds?
(You might consider the aristocratic Mme de Montmorts thought in Dolce: “What separates or unites people is not their language, their laws, their customs, but the way they hold their knife and fork.”)
5. What is your overall view of Suite Française? Would you recommend it to others? Why, or why not?
6. In Dolce, the lovers question whether the needs of the individual or the community should take priority. Lucille imagines that “in five, or ten, or twenty years” this problem will have been replaced by others. To what extent, if at all, has this proved the case? Has Western society conclusively decided to privilege the individual over the group?
7. How does Suite Française compare to other novels of World War Two you have read? How would you compare it to the great personal documents of the war (for example, those written by Anne Frank and Victor Klemperer), or to fiction?
8. “Important events — whether serious, happy or unfortunate — do not change a mans soul, they merely bring it into relief, just as a strong gust of wind reveals the true shape of a tree when it blows of all its leaves.” -Storm in June, p.203
Do you agree?
9. Consider Irène Némirovskys plan for the next part of Suite Française (in the appendix). What else do you think could happen to the characters?
10. What are your criticisms of Suite Française?
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like