A Bride’s Veil

December 17, 2012 at 3:05 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , )

all-our-worldly-goodsTitle: All Our Worldly Goods

Author: Irene Nemirovsky

Publisher: Vintage International

Length: 264 pages

Sometimes you pick up a book with too much expectation.  I find I do that with all Irene Nemirovsky’s books.  The whimsical 1940’s images, the promise of a love story and a certain level of French-ness, the heartbreaking knowledge that the author didn’t survive the holocaust… of course all her work immediately sounds enticing.  You get a warm fuzzy and desperate feeling just looking at the cover (kudos to the marketing department), but those warm fuzzies are so intense, how could an author possibly live up to that? (Unless you’re Audrey Niffenegger, who lives up to all her book covers.)

I had a hard time getting into Suite Francaise, but its saving grace was listening to the symphony the novel was modeled after.  In that light, the work became amazing, but only for the writing itself not because of the story.  I say this years after reading the book with certainty because I cannot remember the story or any of the characters.  If I can’t remember them, they surely could not have moved me that much.

I got the overwhelming desperate sensation to read All Our Worldly Goods at the library a few weeks ago, but like Suite Francaise, I picked it up to read and was only moderately interested.  The characters seem riveting in theory, but a few paragraphs into chapter five I realize that I kind of want to know what happens but am not that moved by the people.  It doesn’t help that I don’t feel well and Nemirovsky is NOT good home with the flu reading.  To be fair with her work, I feel as though I need to be at a coffee shop tucked away in a dark corner without the presence of my two-year old.  Maybe it’s because of sentences like: “It was a November day; the skies wept softly; the wind danced in a bride’s veil; the carriage crushed the last reddish leaves.”

I probably won’t be finishing this particular book.  I have to turn it into the library tomorrow or face fines and I cannot renew it because it’s on a waiting list.  I’m not disappointed about not being able to finish it, though, and I have no desire to rush to the store and find a copy for myself.  Instead, I want to find out who that person is and have a conversation with them once they hit chapter five.  How do you feel? Is it living up to your expectations?  Or does her work leave you a little bit depressed and unsatisfied?

veil3x3wallFunny that the sentence, of all sentences, that I plucked off the page to use in this post as I was writing it was one metaphorically using a bride’s veil.  My husband and I were just talking about bride’s veils – and their purpose – the other day.  I didn’t wear a veil.  I’m not too keen on veils.  “Veils were for arranged marriages when the groom had never seen the bride before and was restricted from seeing how ugly she was until after he was stuck,” my husband laughed.  We can’t remember why this topic came up: a commercial? a Doctor Who episode? Pinterest images? Who knows?  The point is, that’s how I feel about Nemirovsky’s work.  The book is laced in the most beautiful veil ever to be seen, intricate and finely placed descriptions and pictures on the dust jacket.  Then you start reading the book and realize, the bride is not ugly per se, but she’s just not as beautiful as I was led to believe.  She’s nice, she’s alright, but she’s no super model.  And I’m a groom who feels stuck with something of little interest when I expected and wanted something amazing.

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Review: Suite Francaise

July 10, 2012 at 7:18 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate this book until they know the following: When Nemirovsky was writing the book she originally meant it to be five parts, but she only finished two: Storm in June and Dolce, these two parts are what makes up Suite Francaise. These five parts though, were each individually fashioned (in writing style) after the five parts of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Storm in June’s chapters are short and sweet, choppy, slightly repetitious in nature. Dolce is a little more long-winded and flowing. Imagine the beauty of the completed work, if she had lived to finish it. Without this critical information I was irritated by her repetition. I thought perhaps it hadn’t been through the proper editing because she died before the novel was completed. But listening to Beethoven and knowing what she was fashioning this all after, putting the war in terms of music, within a novel. Its beautifully fascinating. What made her think of it? How wonderful would the entire book have been had she lived to complete it? The story was interesting and the writing good, but for some reason I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I think I should have. I expected this to be a four or five-star book for me, easily, based on reviews and whatnot. Instead, I just liked it, and was far more fascinated by the appendices at the end. I loved her notes and journal entries, it was so amazing to be inside her head for those brief moments.

Book Title:Suite Francaise
Author: Irene Nemirovsky
Original Publication Date: 2004 (written in 1942)
Edition Read:
2006 Knopf
Total Pages:
Classic Historical Fiction
Reason Read:
Found on Amazon as a gift for my mother; she gave thumbs up as did Sandy, neither of whom steer me wrong
5 out of 5 Stars

“He wanted to write a story about these charming little horses, a story that would evoke this day in July, this land, this farm, these people, the war – and himself.

“He wrote with a chewed-up pencil stub, in a little notebook which he hid against his heart. He felt he had to hurry: something inside him was making him anxious, was knocking on an invisible door.” – Page 179

If you love lyrical prose and character development, I highly recommend this enjoyable book. I really loved this book the farther along I went…

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