fire in the blood


If I had read “Fire in the Blood” knowing nothing of its author or the circumstances of its composition, I would have guessed it was by some elegist of the French countryside like Jean Giono. Knowing that Némirovsky completed this book about the timeless fire of love at the very moment an all-too-historical fire of hatred was snaking through France adds a painful poignancy to the reading experience. One can’t help wondering whether the deeply held secrets at the heart of the plot had anything to do with Némirovsky’s own double life as she tried desperately to blend into an ordinary village in extraordinary times. With the return to print of four of Némirovsky’s earlier novels (including “David Golder”) planned for the coming months, we will soon be in a better position to judge precisely where this modest melodrama belongs in the larger achievement of a complex and remarkable writer.

more from the NY Times Book Review here.