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    Irene Nemirovsky

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    February 24, 1903 – August 17, 1942

    In 2004, "Suite Francaise", a set of two novels by Irene Nemirovsky, was released to great praise. Describing life in France on the eve of the Nazi invasion, it was heralded by critics.

    "Stunning... A tour de force." "A masterpiece of observation and character study." "Gripping... Brilliant... Endlessly fascinating." "Transcendent, astonishing." "Extraordinary... A work of Proustian scope and delicacy, by turns funny and deeply moving."

    At the time of publication, Nemirovsky had been dead for over 60 years.

    A Russian emigre, Nemirovsky was an accomplished author during her life, but the accolades pale in comparison to what she received after her death. That being said, she was mostly forgotten for half a century, until the "Suite Francaise" manuscript was discovered in the late 1990s. Nemirovsky's daughter preserved it through the war. She survived, as Irene perished in Auschwitz.

    Before we lavish her with praise, a few key points need to be mentioned. Nemirovsky's earlier works were filled with antisemitic stereotypes. She wrote for pro-Nazi publications. She was called "the very definition of a self-hating Jew." She converted to Catholicism.

    How do we reconcile this one?

    Verdict: Borderline Jew.

    May 10, 2019

    See Also

    Anne Frank

    Jerzy Kosinski

    Primo Levi

    Art Spiegelman

    Elie Wiesel
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