‘To lift such a heavy weight, Sisyphus,’ wrote Irène Némirovsky in notes for her novel Suite Française, ‘you will need all your courage. I do not lack the courage to complete the task but the goal is far and time is short.’ She did not realise quite how short it would be. It was then June 1942. On 13 July the French police came to arrest her. She was interned in the concentration camp at Pithiviers, south of Orléans, and the next day deported to Auschwitz. A month later she was dead.