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Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky
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Fire in the Blood (2001)

by Irène Némirovsky

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
This book has been on my TBR pile for four years; I remember finding it at The Strand bookstore in Manhattan, not long after reading Suite Francaise. Fire in the Blood is a novella, about the same length as one part of Nemirovsky's suite. For such a short book, the story develops slowly, as Nemirovsky describes a small French village and its inhabitants. For a long time it's unclear whether the narrator, Sylvestre, is an observer or an active participant in village life. But village life is filled with history and secrets, and as these are revealed Sylvestre's role becomes clear.

The preface to the French edition of this book likens it to Proust's Within a Budding Grove, which I recently read. The similarities are there, in the French landscape and the stories of young love. But in Fire in the Blood, passions smolder just below the surface, creating more tension than I experienced in Proust's work.

I'm not sure I would recommend this on its own, but if you liked Suite Francaise you'd probably like reading this book as well. ( )
  lauralkeet | Aug 16, 2014 |
About ten years ago I took a course in French Women Writers (in translation). Irène Némirovsky wasn't included, but we read a lot of Colette, de Beauvoir, Duras, and Yourcenar.

There's a particular tone of writing they all have in common -- maybe it's a fundamental to the way women write in French, or maybe it's fundamental to the experience of being a French woman (although Yourcenar immigrated to eastern Canada). I don't know. But this fit in beautifully with what I read and loved before.

I'm splitting a difference with four stars. Némirovsky had finished a draft of this novel at the time of her arrest and execution at Auschwitz. The characterization is lovely, the language is exquisite, the story itself complete and achingly beautiful -- if spare.

But I can imagine her adding a little more. As it stands, there isn't a single excess word. Every detail is vital, which is why it took me days to read such a slim volume. I had to stop and consider, and let every word sink in. I'm glad I did, because all the characters feel vivid and real to me, but I'm not quite content with the build to the ending's final turn.


I haven't read Suite Française yet, but now I'm very much looking forward to it. ( )
  sageness | Feb 7, 2014 |
More secrets from the French countryside: I was so excited to get a copy of Irene Nemirovsky's "new" book, Fire in the Blood after reading and adoring Suite Francsaise. This little book will not disappoint her fans.
Set in the French countryside, the reader is introduced to a variety of interesting characters, starting with Silvio, the narrator, who all have secrets that are revealed in the story. I was worried I would be bored with this one, but I was compelled to read the book, and it is a quick read, and like Suite Francaise will leave you wanting more. Gorgeous writing and incredible imagery, Nemirovsky had such talent for relating the thoughts and feelings of the people she depicts--her tragic death is a great loss for the world. Had she survived the war, who knows what opus of her writings would exist now. I believe in time, her books will be considered classics. I can defintely see this novel as well, standing the test of time with other authors sich as Hemingway and Steinbeck. More "required" reading!
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
Nemirovsky proves again why she is a literary genius. "Fire in the blood, how quickly it burns out". The story is insightful, passionate and altogether too short. ( )
  newskepticx | Dec 18, 2013 |
Een oudere, op zichzelf wonende vrijgezel levert deels laatdunkende, deels begripvolle commentaar bij de (geheime) relaties van zijn omgeving waarvan hijzelf een belangrijk onderdeel vormt. De sfeer van het dunbevolkte Franse platteland en de wantrouwige aard van zijn bewoners is heel mooi weergegeven. ( )
  joucy | Nov 9, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irène Némirovskyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lienhardt, PatrickEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Philipponnat, OlivierEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sarkar, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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We were drinking a light punch, the kind we had when I was young, and all sitting around the fire, my Erard cousins, their children and I.
Quotations
When older people get together there is something unflappable about them; you can sense they've tasted all the heavy, bitter, spicy food of life, extracted its poisons, and will now spend ten or fifteen years in a state of perfect equilibrium and enviable morality. They are happy with themselves. They have renounced the vain attempts of youth to adapt the world to their desires. They have failed and, now, they can relax.
When you're twenty love is like a fever, it makes you almost delirious. When it's over you can hardly remember how it happened...Fire in the blood, how quickly it burns itself out. Faced with this blaze of dreams and desires, I felt so old, so cold, so wise...
But it's like this: when I go out and mix with other people voluntarily, I agree, more or less, to get involved in their odd lives; but when I've climbed back into my hole, I want to be left in peace, so don't come bothering me with your loves and your regrets.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 030738800X, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month, October 2007: As the Nazis advanced on France, celebrated writer Irène Némirovsky composed two final masterworks: Suite Française and Fire in the Blood. The first, smuggled out in a suitcase by her escaping daughters when Némirovsky was taken to her death at Auschwitz in 1942, surfaced more than 60 years later and restored her bestselling status. The other, two pages of which slipped out in that same suitcase, was thought lost--until biographers discovered the rest of the manuscript in papers given to Némirovsky's editor for safekeeping. A worthy companion to Suite Française, it follows three interwoven stories across two decades, when the hot-blooded affairs of youth threaten the cool calm of middle age. Once it has all unraveled, the last line lodges in your heart like a sliver. If only there could have been more. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:47 -0400)

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At the center of the tale is Silvio, who in his younger years fled the boredom of the village for of travel and adventure, returns to live in a farmer's hovel in the middle of the woods. Much to his family's dismay, Silvio is content with his solitude. But when he attends the wedding of his favorite young cousin, Silvio begins to be drawn back into the complicated life of this small town. As the 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.… (more)

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