Suite Française, published in 2004, was a literary sensation. It’s author, Irène Némirovsky, a Ukrainian Jew who lived much of her life in France, died at Auschwitz in the Holocaust. The novel was written in a notebook—actually, the notebook contained two novels of a projected five-novel cycle—that was stored in a suitcase. Némirovsky’s surviving daughters couldn’t bring themselves to read the notebook until 50 years later. The novel begins with the German occupation of Paris—Némirovsky was writing from firsthand experience—then moves to the small French town of Bussy, also occupied yet disorientingly peaceful. A film version of the book came in 2015, and now a stage adaptation by the French actress Virginie Lemoine has premiered in Paris to warm reviews (“sober, sensitive, and magisterially performed”). A fascinating footnote: during W.W. II the Théâtre La Bruyère, where the play is being performed, was run by an actor in the Resistance; its basement was used to hide people wanted by the Germans. —L.J.
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