Thursday, December 21, 2006

Barnes's Books of the Year (The New Yorker)

Julian Barnes (contributes). "Bedside Reading."The New Yorker, 25 December 2006 -- 1 January 2007.

From the article:

"The two best books I read in 2006 were Suite Française, by Irène Némirovsky (Chatto / Knopf), and Fouché, by Stefan Zweig. Suite Française is not just a searing act of reportage and verisimilitude (the period being the fall of France in 1940 and the immediate aftermath); it also offers a penetrating analysis of the moral failure of the French at that time. Though Némirovsky completed only two of her planned five volumes, what she has left us stands free and wonderful by itself.

"Stefan Zweig is one of those writers, famous throughout the world in his time, whose reputation has dimmed greatly in the decades since his death. His long-out-of-print biography of Joseph Fouché, the chief of the French state police, who came to power during the French Revolution and flourished under several subsequent administrations, is a masterly study of the ultimate political survivor, one who knew everyone’s secrets, had a finger in every pie, and believed in virtually nothing. Fouché makes some of those around at the moment look positively riddled with principles."

Visit The New Yorker website to read comments by other authors on the year's best reads.

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