Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky

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A new treasure unearthed by Nemirovsky's biographers: another never-before-published novel from the author of the #1 bestselling Suite Francaise.

This perfect gem of a novel was discovered only recently in separate archive files. A few pages were in the famous suitcase that Irene Nemirovsky's daughters saved, but the balance had been deposited with a very close friend during the war. A morality tale with doubtful morals, a story of murder, love and betrayal in rural France, Fire in the Blood, planned in 1937 and written in 1941, is set in a small village (based on Issy l'Eveque, where Suite Francaise was written), and brilliantly prefigures the village community in her later masterpiece.

Fire in the Blood is a beautiful chamber piece which starts quietly, lyrically, but then races away with revelations and narrative twists in a story about young women forced into marriages with old men, about mothers and daughters, stepmothers and stepdaughters, youthful passions and the regrets of old age, about peasant communities and the ways they hide their secrets. Nemirovsky looks at her characters, both young and old, with the same clear-eyed distance and humanity as she displayed in Suite Francaise, unpeeling layer after layer. As atmospheric and haunting as Sandor Marai's Embers, and with the crystalline perfection of Chekhov, Fire in the Blood is another gripping literary find.

Knopf (Canada): 2007.
ISBN: 9780676979800. 160 pp.
Hardcover. Very good.