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Fire in the Blood: A Novel

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Fire in the Blood: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780307267481
ISBN10: 0307267482
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

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.
Recommended by Beth, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Here is a missing piece of the remarkable posthumous legacy of Irène Némirovsky, author of the internationally acclaimed Suite Française.

Written in 1941, the manuscript of Fire in the Blood was entrusted in pieces to family and a friend when the author was sent to her death at Auschwitz. The novel — only now assembled in its entirety — teems with the intertwined lives of an insular French village in the years before the war, when "peace" was less important as a political state than as a coveted personal condition: the untroubled pinnacle of happiness.

At the center of the tale is Silvio: in his younger years he fled the boredom of the village and made a life of travel and adventure. Now he's returned, living in a farmer's hovel in the middle of the woods, and, much to his family's chagrin, perfectly content with his solitude.

But when he attends the wedding of his favorite young cousin — "she has the thing that, when I was young, I used to value most in women: she has fire" — Silvio begins to be drawn back into the complicated life of this small town. As his narration unfolds, we are given an intimate picture of the loves and infidelities, the scandals, the youthful ardor and regrets of age that tie Silvio to the long-guarded secrets of the past.

Némirovsky wrote with a crystalline understanding of the pretensions and protections of society, and of the varied workings of the human heart, in language as evocative of a vanished eraas of the emotional and moral ambiguities in her characters' lives. All of which was evident in Suite Française — and abundantly evident again in this powerful, passionate novel.

Review:

"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.)

Review:

"Irene Nemirovsky surprised readers when her unfinished novel 'Suite Francaise' was posthumously published in French in 2004 and in English a year ago, decades after the author had died at Auschwitz. The subtlety of her observation of a nation at war and under occupation gave us a new perspective on France in the '40s. Now another hitherto unknown novel, which the author completed in her last years,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[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." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"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." San Antonio Express-News

Review:

"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." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[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." The Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903 into a wealthy banking family and emigrated to France during the Russian Revolution. After attending the Sorbonne, she began to write and swiftly achieved success with an early novel, David Golder, which was followed by The Ball, Snow in Autumn, Dogs and Wolves, and The Courilof Affair, among others. She died in Auschwitz in 1942.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

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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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Krista Smith-Moroziuk, July 26, 2008 (view all comments by Krista Smith-Moroziuk)
Fire In the Blood is a masterpiece by an amazing author. It is about love and loss, and the secrets that surround this small close knit community. The landscape and the characters come to life.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307267481
Author:
Nemirovsky, Irene
Publisher:
Knopf
Translator:
Smith, Sandra
Author:
Smith, Sandra
Subject:
General
Subject:
Memory in old age
Subject:
France
Subject:
Family secrets
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Publication Date:
September 25, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
8.4 x 5.4 x .74 in .7 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Fire in the Blood: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.50 In Stock
Product details 160 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307267481 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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 , "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.)
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Synopsis" by , 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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