Her Life and WorksBook - 2007
On July 13, 1942, French gendarmes arrested Irène Némirovsky in southern Burgundy. She was deported to Auschwitz where she died on August 19. Who was this woman, author of more than a dozen popular novels and more than thirty short stories, whose posthumous novel, Suite Française , won France's prestigious Renaudot prize in 2004? Born in Russia to wealthy parents, Irène Némirovsky immigrated to Paris in 1919. Although she was Jewish, she consorted with authors and politicians on the extreme right, some of whom were openly anti-Semitic. She was sure that these friends would protect her from deportation after the Nazis invaded France. Instead, they abandoned her. Yet she never lost faith in France, even after she was refused French nationality. In this fascinating biography, Jonathan Weiss analyzes the discrepancy between Némirovsky's real and imagined identities, and explores a literary work that revisits in a unique way Jewish identity, exile, betrayal, and the solidarity of a persecuted people.