Suite Francaise is a novel which could be overshadowed by the story of its writing, its loss, and its subsequent rediscovery. Author Irene Nemirovsky wrote about the Nazi invasion of France almost as it was happening. But she was arrested at her home in Issy-l'Evêque as a "stateless person of Jewish descent" in July of 1942 and died at Auschwitz before the end of that August.
Her daughter saved what she believed to be her mother's diaries but never delved into them until the 1990s. What she found were two novellas, written in her mother's hand, distilling the essence of the wartime experience in France. The novellas, Storm in June, and Dolce explore two different aspects of the Nazi occupation--the disruption of daily life and the more subtle rearrangement of conscience.
This book has been hugely well-received and widely reviewed. The New York Times' Paul Gray writes:
From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the back story of "Suite Française" is irrelevant to the true business of criticism. But most readers don't view books from such Olympian heights, and neither, for that matter, do most critics. If they did, publishers' lists wouldn't be so crowded with literary histories and biographies, those chronicles of messy facts from which enduring art sometimes springs. In truth, "Suite Française" can stand up to the most rigorous and objective analysis, while a knowledge of its history heightens the wonder and awe of reading it. If that's a crime, let's just plead guilty and forge ahead.