Fire in the Blood

Publisher: Vintage Canada
A new treasure unearthed by Némirovsky’s biographers: another never-before-published novel from the author of the #1 bestselling Suite Française.

This perfect gem of a novel was discovered only recently in separate archive files. A few pages were in the famous suitcase that Irène Némirovsky’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’Evèque, where Suite Française 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. Némirovsky looks at her characters, both young and old, with the same clear-eyed distance and humanity as she displayed in Suite Française, unpeeling layer after layer. As atmospheric and haunting as Sándor Márai’s Embers, and with the crystalline perfection of Chekhov, Fire in the Blood is another gripping literary find.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One

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. It was an autumn evening, the whole sky red above the sodden fields of turned earth. The fiery sunset promised a strong wind the next day; the crows were...
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1. Is Silvio a reliable narrator? Is he honest with himself? How does he change over the course of the novel?

2. Silvio writes: “I enjoy simple things, things within reach: a nice meal, some good wine, the secret, bitter pleasure of writing in this notebook; but, most especially, this divine solitude...

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Praise for Suite Française:

Suite Française is miraculous for the power, brilliance and beauty of the writing.”
The Globe and Mail

Suite Française stands as a masterwork, an incisive study of human nature.”
Toronto Star

From the Hardcover edition.