The novel describes several groups of characters fleeing Paris
as the Germans invade the country.
The author, Irene Nemirovsky, wrote the book during 1940 and 1941 while actually living
through the German Occupation. She was arrested for being a Jew and taken to Auschwitz,
where she died at the age of 39.
The manuscript was contained in a notebook, owned by the author's daughter.
She resisted reading it for 50 years thinking it was a journal and too painful to read.
The writing is remarkable and intimate.