Pamela Ager, January 3, 2010 (view all comments by Pamela Ager)
Reading this rather brief book centering around the lives and happenings in a small French village, written in 1941 or so, is like sitting in front of a warm fire while drinking fine wine. The story transports us to any small town with the comings and goings and secrets that are generated through time by any group of people that stay in the same place for generations, whether in France or America. Those who have been around the longest may have the most pieces of the puzzle, but do they know the truth of past situations? And how often do the same situations repeat themselves? A very human story told with elegance and style.
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Jena, May 27, 2009 (view all comments by Jena)
I can't say that I'm greatly impressed by the book, especially considering all the glowing reviews. Based on this work, I'm pretty ambivalent as to whether I read any more of her books, but Fire in the Blood isn't a drag to read, either. I'm just not sure I'll remember anything about it months from now.
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Knopf Publishing Group -
We are lucky to have another novel from Irene Némirovsky. Although the book is short, the emotional impact is lasting. Fire in the Blood is a luminescent novel of love and loss.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"When she was writing Suite Francaise in 1940, Némirovsky, who died in Auschwitz in 1942 before turning 40, was also reworking this novel, newly discovered among her papers. Though composed on a smaller canvas, it is another keenly observed study of human nature, and in this case of Burgundy paysans. In a leisurely narrative, middle-aged narrator Silvio recounts three interlocking stories of love and betrayal over two decades. These secret affairs, he says, can be explained only by 'fire in the blood,' the intense passion that can overtake men and women when they are young, highly sexed and vulnerable. Silvio's laconic descriptions of unappeasable desire are seasoned by bitter assessment of the wisdom earned after things cool. Linked through blood and common local history, the characters in this la ronde of betrayal exist in a seemingly idyllic community that is always alert for deviations from the social code. Némirovsky's restraint in unfolding her story contributes to the emotional crescendo at the story's denouement. In its penetrating distillation of manners and mores, this spare and elegant book makes a worthy follow-up to Suite." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[A] short elegiac novel about the brief yet passionate loves and infidelities of youth....Neither a masterpiece nor a curiosity but an elegant expression of universal longings rooted in a specific milieu, provincial France, that's observed with a caustic brilliance."
by San Antonio Express-News,
"Fire in the Blood is short, at only 126 pages, but it is finished and polished, expressing more than many 500-page novels....So rarely can readers find such theme-rich prose. Every page, every sentence is a treasure."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Although it is hard to match the power of Suite Française, Fire in the Blood is strangely engaging despite its overheated prose. Némirovsky again excavates the hypocrisy and self-serving impulses embedded in French culture — and, perhaps, all human nature."
by The Christian Science Monitor,
"[T]here's enough of Némirovsky's intelligence and caustic powers of observation to make Fire in the Blood more than a mere curiosity. For those who loved Suite Française, the existence of this quiet, melancholy story is good news."
From the author of the acclaimed and bestselling Suite Francaise comes a newly discovered, never-before-published novel — a story teeming with the life of a small French village in the years before World War II.
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