Sunday, February 10, 2008
Fire in the Blood - Irene Némirovsky
“How is this fire lit within us? It devours everything and then, in a few years, a few months, a few hours even, it burns itself out. Then you see how much damage has been done.”
This lovely small masterpiece (129 pages) by author Irene Némirovsky began by lulling me into thinking I was reading what I would refer to as a “gentle book” – one with beautiful descriptive passages, intriguing characters and dialogue and a slow thoughtful pace.
I was quite content to be taken back in time to experience the peaceful village life in rural France. I should have known better. The title itself was the give-a-way.
“Fire in the Blood” – that passion one experiences which oftentimes leads to committing errors in judgment with consequences that will haunt you. Perhaps for years. Perhaps for the rest of your life.
Beneath the idyllic rural setting that so entranced me lay a story of love, longing, passion, betrayal, murder and long-held secrets - just as beneath the seemingly idyllic lives of the characters lay that fire in the blood which is never quite extinguished despite maturity and advancing years. The beauty, promise and wonder of both nature and human nature are expertly rendered. But as the story unfolds, we witness how deceiving these gifts can be.
(Click on the link for a brief story synopsis.)
I loved Némirovsky’s novel Suite Française. While Fire in the Blood did not have quite the same impact upon me, nevertheless, it made a lasting impression and was such a pleasure to read. It was written in 1941. Némirovsky died in Auschwitz in 1942.
I can’t give away the last line in the story but after reading it (twice) I ended up flipping back through the pages of the book.
It left me wondering. When one is possessed by that “fire in the blood,” can the longing and the dreaming surpass the reality?