Saturday, May 5, 2007

Five best books about France

Howard Bloch, Sterling Professor of French at Yale University and author of, most recently, A Needle in the Right Hand of God (about the Bayeux Tapestry) , named a five best books about France list for Opinion Journal.

Number one on the list:

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

In her portrait of life in France during the early years of World War II, Irène Némirovsky -- who died at Auschwitz in 1942 -- left behind a work of unforgettable poignancy. Her eye in the two novellas that make up "Suite Française" is as sharp as that of Flaubert or Proust. There is no better depiction of the human animal stripped of centuries of civilization than her re-creation of the flight from Paris as the Germans arrived in June 1940, no better sounding of the complexities of the human heart than the scenes of Occupation. "It was deplorable, but no one would even know in the future. It would be one of those things posterity would never find out, or would refuse to see out of a sense of shame." This masterpiece waited six decades to see the light of day.

Read about all five books on Bloch's list.

--Marshal Zeringue