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 novelonly now assembled in its entiretyteems 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 hes returned, living in a farmers hovel in the middle of the woods, and, much to his familys chagrin, perfectly content with his solitude.
But when he attends the wedding of his favorite young cousinshe has the thing that, when I was young, I used to value most in women: she has fireSilvio 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.
"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.
"In its penetrating distillation of manners and mores, this spare and elegant book makes a worthy follow-up to Suite." - Publishers Weekly.
"Stripped of the backdrop of war, the natural surroundings of Fire In The Blood add a depth and resonance to each of the story's characters, whether young or old, male or female. Subtle in its intention, this novella takes humanity in all its guises and captures the deep-seated desire for belonging and understanding." - Scotland on Sunday.
"Fire in the Blood, on which it seems she was still working when she was taken away to her death, confirms Némirovsky's brilliance as a storyteller with a deep understanding of the hidden flaws and cruelties not just in French society but in the human heart." - The Telegraph (UK).
"Passion and dispassion stare at each other with mutual lack of understanding. In a book fuelled with images of fire and embers, Némirovsky brilliantly depicts a closed-in, inward-looking community, then gives what happens in it universal resonance by exhibiting not only what people do to each other but what the passing of time does to us all." - Peter Kemp, Sunday Times (UK).
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Rated of 5
This book will bring enjoyment to those who like to read a very well written book. It is not "Suite Francaise", however it is still a good read.
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 in Paris she began to write and swiftly achieved success with David Golder, which was followed by more than a dozen other books. Throughout her lifetime she published widely in French newspapers and literary journals. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. More than sixty years later, Suite Française, was published posthumously in 2006. Several more of her novels have been translated into English and published in the US.
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