Posthumous 'Suite Francaise' becomes commercial hit

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NEW YORK -- Some books sell because Oprah Winfrey wants you to buy them. Others get help from a major prize, a controversy, a movie tie-in, a famous author or an especially clever marketing campaign.

And some, such as Irene Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise," sell because they're great books.

Born in 1903, Nemirovsky was a Ukrainian Jew who emigrated to Paris as a young woman. She was arrested in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of France and soon died at Auschwitz, where her husband, Michael Epstein, was later killed.

The author of several previous works, Nemirovsky had been discretely working on a five-part novel before her arrest. The first two sections, fictionalized accounts of the war, were discovered in the 1990s by her daughter, Denise Epstein, and published in France to great acclaim in 2004. The book was again praised highly when the English edition came out in the United States last spring.

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