Fire in the Blood
By Irene Nemirovsky
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307388001, 160pp.)
Publication Date: July 15, 2008
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From the celebrated author of the international bestseller Suite Française, a newly discovered novel, a story of passion and long-kept secrets, set against the background of a rural French village in the years before World War II.Written in 1941, Fire in the Blood – 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 novel is Silvio, who has returned to this small town after years away. 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.
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 her first novel, David Golder, which was followed by The Ball, The Flies of Autumn, Dogs and Wolves and The Courilof Affair. She died in 1942.
- Is Silvio a reliable narrator? Is he honest with himself? How does he change over the course of the novel?
“Beautiful. . . . An enjoyable . . . portrait of manners from the first half of the last century.”
—The Washington Post Book World
"Courageous, uncompromising. . . . An entire world, vividly rendered, emerges from [these] pages.”
“An almost perfect miniature, a tale of divided loves and loyalties set in an insular rural French village.”
—O, Oprah Magazine
“[Némirovsky] coolly explores the heat of passions old and new. . . leav[ing] readers profoundly satisfied with this portrait of la vieille France…so manifestly dear to her.”
—San Francisco Chronicle