Irene Nemirovsky was a Russian-Jewish immigrant to France, who became the most highly respected woman novelist of her generation in the 1930s. Nemirovsky had an extremely fraught relation to Jewishness, and converted to Catholicism in 1939—which didn’t save her from being deported to Auschwitz as a “foreign Jew.” In much of her fiction, Nemirovsky explored the conflicted identities that shaped the lives of secular Jews in twentieth-century Europe and beyond.
Susan Rubin Suleiman was born in Budapest and emigrated to the U.S. as a child with her parents. She has been on the Harvard University faculty since 1981, where she is currently the C. Douglas Dillon Research Professor of the Civilization of France and Research Professor of Comparative Literature. Her latest book, The Némirovsky Question (Yale University Press, fall 2016), is about the Russian-French novelist Irène Némirovsky and issues of “foreignness” in 20th-century France. Her other books include Crises of Memory and the Second World War; Authoritarian Fictions: The Ideological Novel as a Literary Genre; Subversive Intent: Gender, Politics, and the Avant-Garde, and Risking Who One Is: Encounters with Contemporary Art and Literature. In addition to her scholarly work, Suleiman is the author of Budapest Diary: In Search of the Motherbook, a memoir about Hungary.
*This is an author event; the bookstore will be on-site selling copies of Suleiman's book