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Fire in the Blood [Paperback]

Irčne Némirovsky , Sandra Smith
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: Ł7.99
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Book Description

2 Oct 2008
Set in the rural French town in Burgundy that would also form the backdrop to the bestselling Suite Française, Fire in the Blood is the story of Silvio, his cousin's wife Hélène, her second husband Françoise, and of the truths, deaths, marriages, children, houses and mills that bind them with love and hatred, deception and betrayal.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099516098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099516095
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Another masterpiece" (Sunday Times)

"Mesmerising...another gem from a glittering career cut tragically short" (Daily Express)

"A literary find of the same quality as Suite Franç has a 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)

"Magnificently atmospheric... She is so clever, quick and observant, that every character in the story bounds into life" (Carmen Callil Financial Times)

"Gripping and full of confirms Némirovsky's brilliance as a storyteller with a deep understanding of the hidden flaws and cruelties in the human heart" (Sunday Telegraph)


`Nemirovsky brings the characters to life with a light touch'

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Irene 9 Jan 2009
Irene shows us through this book her deep understanding of human nature in French society and culture.The book explores the introverted rural French people with their hidden ways and of things unspoken.
Families seemingly happy are actually riven with dark incidents in their past.Infidelity,lust,longing and pathos all provide a panorama of rural life in pre war France.As the individual stories unfold,the sadness increases,but Irene's loves of all things French shines through.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine novel by Nemirovsky, if probably unfinished 22 Aug 2008
Irene Nemirovsky's short novel, written before her arrest and subsequent death in Auschwitz in 1942, was considered lost (there was a partial text of the first pages) and was only found on 2007 (!). Nevertheless, everything indicates this is not the final draft, and had she lived to publish it a different version would have arrived to us. The book itself is a tale of secret passions in a French small town. The arrival of Silvio, a single man in his sixties, to his home town, after a lifetime of living abroad, lets secrets hidden under the cover of normalcy and boredom out of the closet; a lot of it it's beguiling, but it also feels incomplete: for example, the relationship between Silvio and Brigitte (fundamental, given what we find in the book's last pages) is curiously underworked: this lets me to think we should consider this book to be an unfinished work. Despite this, it is another fine work by the Russian-born Jewish-raised French author, whose books have gone through a revival in the last few years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little gem of a book 8 Mar 2008
By Bluebell TOP 100 REVIEWER
At first the book seems to be a gentle story of French rural life and then, about half way through the book, the narrative erupts into one of crime and passion and one is propelled along to finish it. The writing is very taught with short sentences and no redundant description and yet the author evokes atmosphere and character: she reminded me of Georges Simeon.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 24 Aug 2008
What a wonderful book. Lyrical and atmospheric, this book is a story told by Silvio about his family in the early last century who live in a little village in rural France. What starts out gently and as a story of great love between the various family members quickly descends into secrets, lies, betrayal and grief.

I picked this book up this morning and read the first page to see how I liked it and before I knew it I have read the whole things while barely pausing for breath. A lovely book and I shall certainly be reading more by this author.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read, another Nemirovsky masterpiece 16 April 2008
After reading Suite Francaise, which I absolutely LOVED, I was a little bit anxious that this other "new" book (that found the day of light after so many years in oblivion) will not fulfil my expectations...but the hell it did, what a brilliant book!

Although it is way too short, and it is obvious that Ms Nemirovsky intended to write a lot more, fortunately the plot is quite coherent and you could imagine where she was going to with it. Nevertheless, I felt the same rage and frustration I experienced with Suite Francaise of never being able to read the finished product, due to the author's untimely death. I am delighted anyway that it has been published in spite of all these shortcomings, as it has been a crime that such a beautiful book has been hidden away for so many years. And unfinished or not, it is always a pleasure to read anything from Irene Nemirovsky. It brings tears to my eyes to realise her voice was extinguished way too early and we have been denied the honour of reading more of her fantastic books.

This book is a gem, I just love Ms Nemirovsky's style, it is so well written, her vivid description of the French country live is a delight to read. It is a very sarcastic and sharp critic to the sometimes petty and particular ways of the peasant mentality. The plot has so many clever twists; I could not put it down. Something I particularly loved about it was how masterfully the author mirrored the past and the present, showing how the more things change the more they stay the same.

A must read. Thank you Ms Nemirovsky, I'll eternally be a fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER
Short (150 page) but exquisite novel set in rural inter-war Burgundy and narrated by crusty bachelor Silvio who likes nothing better than his own company.
As the book opens, he is at a family get-together celebrating the engagement of his cousin's daughter. Her devoted parents look on.
Yet there are many secrets, both in the past and still to come. As Silvio observes from his calm middle age 'how is this fire lit within us? It devours everything and then in a few burns itself out. Then you see how much damage has been done.'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Secrets buried beneath a bucolic exterior 13 Jan 2012
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
This novel was discovered many years after Irene Nemirovsky's tragic death. It is technically unfinished, but not to the point where it cannot be read and enjoyed. The narrator is Silvio, aged in his 60s, who lives alone just outside a small French village. In his youth he travelled the world and had affairs, but now he regards that younger self as being so removed from him that it's almost as if it were someone else. He believes that "fire in the blood" is only for the young: living life with passion and disregard for the consequences.

The book takes place over a few years, as Silvio observes the actions of the younger people in the village. It is only towards the end of the book that we realise the secrets that connect them all.

It's a beautifully written story that develops at its own pace. You can almost see the village, smell the lavender, hear the insects buzzing, taste the rustic soup. It's a shame that the ending is as abrupt as it is. It's not that you're left wondering what was going to happen, but more that you feel cheated of having the ends neatly tied up. Nevertheless a lyrical, evocative read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate tale of love and deception with a surprising twist at the...
A passionate tale of love and deception with a surprising twist at the end. Irene Nemirovsky is a brilliant writer.
Published 3 days ago by Felix
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Thoroughly recommend this book. Story is well told. Have read Suite Francaise which I also recommend. Give this book a go.
Published 2 months ago by lollypop
4.0 out of 5 stars quick read, nothing to skim
This was a 'books club' read, and one I have enjoyed. Partly because it is short (and sweet). There are no superfluous sub plots to distract from the main one and although part... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mad Saint Uden
5.0 out of 5 stars suberb writing
This is an excellent piece of writing about a very poignant subject. It captures an important time in history and one can only wonder about the skill of the author to write so... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gillian Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book
This is the second Irene Nemirosky book I have read and it met my expectations in every way.
She writes beautifully, her characters are real and the situations natural. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jenny Dorset
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive and beautiful 'coming of age' novel.
Nemirovsky always wrote with exceptional sensitivity and this novel is no exception. The atmosphere she creates of Russia before and during the revolution takes you there in... Read more
Published 18 months ago by scazza
4.0 out of 5 stars Critical examination of rural France in the early twentieth century
Two things struck me about Nemirovsky's masterful dissection of French rural life in the early twentieth century. Firstly, how totally lacking in moral values everyone was. Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2011 by Mick Read
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for lovers of France and French life
I have written a review of this book under the French title Chaleur du Sang. Whilst i always prefer to read French books in the original if possible I also read this translation... Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2010 by AudreyGH
5.0 out of 5 stars Fire in the Blood
This is the second Irene Nemirovsky novel I have read: each translated into English. Amazing first hand knowledge from this author.
Published on 31 Oct 2009 by Mrs. C. B. Carter
5.0 out of 5 stars masterful
This wonderful novella will surely become a classic. I would rate it more highly than the second section of Nemirofsky's 'Suite Francaise', which like this is set in the French... Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2009 by maryleopard
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