What an interesting and perplexing read! I had heard about the now legendary tale of how the book came to be published. I cozied up to read what I thought was a heart-breaking story of a poor Jewish woman's harrowing account of WWII and her ultimate demise in a concentration camp.
Storm in June:
I truly enjoyed the jaw-dropping, armchair perspective and the effects that such a tragedy had on a people group... no matter their background. It was quite the leveler. Interestingly enough, I was reading that section when Wallstreet collapsed. I was left wondering how much cash we had on hand and would we be prepared in a situation like that? Overall, I just could not connect with any of the characters. The great evacuation described our characters in personally arduous situations, but it's from a journalist's detached account, lacking emotion and connection. It lacked a central, truly likable character. I was left hoping that the author would have tied up the loose ends in Dolce or other future writings.
After my initial disappointment with the fact that we had virtually brand new characters and very little mention of the previous characters I had already invested in, I settled into a very nice read. I really enjoyed Dolce as a short story. I probably would have enjoyed it more had it not been connected to Storm in June.
I found particularly touching were the telegrams from Nemirovsky's husband in attempt to get her released. Also, the publisher's tireless efforts as well.
The odd thing about this book is sadly, the thing that probably most interested me about the book: her Jewish roots, capture and then what eventually became of the Jewish people in World War II-- there is absolutely no mention of any of it! Very odd indeed! As a Jewish person, I would think that you would want your people's story told...unless you didn't identify with them? Then I read that her previous works were considered anti-semitic. Now THAT'S ironic! Who were the heroes in this story? For me, I would have to say that the Germans were better represented. Who appeared to be the bad guys? The French. It made me wonder if this book had been found any earlier, would it have been published?
In the end, her writing was absolutely captivating, but I was left feeling empty with the loss of her beauty and contribution to this world greatly underscored. The other question becomes, is this book a classic? I question whether the author's story is bigger than the work? I think it was on it's way to becoming a classic, but was cut short and clearly left unfinished.