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Sweet Freedom

I just read Irene Nemirovsky‘s novel Suite Francaise.  In my opinion, it’s wonderful (although I’ve no particular expertise at literary criticism or assessment).  The story is set in France during the Nazi invasion and occupation of that country in the early 1940s.

I’d still love this novel even if it didn’t contain these wonderful lines (on page 297); they are the thoughts of a main character, Lucile Angellier, whose small town in France — and whose home — is occupied by the Nazis:

I want to be free.  I’m not asking for superficial freedom, the freedom to travel, to leave this house (even though that would be unimaginably blissful).  I’d rather feel free inside — to choose my own path, never to waver, not to follow the swarm.  I hate this community spirit they go on and on about.  The Germans, the French, the Gaullists, they all agree on one thing: you have to love, think, live with other people, as part of a state, a country, a political party.  Oh, my God!  I don’t want to!


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