Sasha Martinez's Reviews > Fire in the Blood

Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky
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's review
Oct 02, 2011

bookshelves: 2010, yes

Oh, I very much enjoyed this. As slim as it is, hell, I figured that I’d read a few pages then set it aside. But I finished reading it in one sitting, and dammit, I loved it.

[And with much thanks to Sandra Smith, the translator -- the language was fluid, and had the grace that I so missed when I read Dimanche and Other Stories, which was translated by someone else.]

So. It’s a very insular tale — compact and organic, too, so finely crafted. It’s easy to assume that this is a lesser work of a celebrated author, given it’s tiny-ness. But, man, this is a beauty of a book, and it’s all the more lovely because it accomplished so much in such a slim package — such focus, such detail, and such heightened emotions because of this.

With scope and concentration, this novel has a lot in common with Dolce, the second book of the author’s Suite Française: rural life, a community, a family—with high passions lurking and raging beneath seemingly placid lives—ah! the drama of love and hatred, the deception and betrayal within a family we first encounter in an idyllic scene around a hearth—

With the children, we are told a tale of how a love flourished, basically a quaint little story about how the love of the patriarch and matriarch survives such odds [or, as I scribbled on my notebook, survived all the shit life threw at them].

But things get more compelling, you see. It’s a book of stories beneath the surface. Of histories best left forgotten, or those you pretend never occurred. And that particular family curse of parallel lives, or, to be more precise, parallel mistakes.

[The rest of the quote-heavy review can be found in my book blog.

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