Summer 2023

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“Fire in the Blood” by Irène Némirovsky

“Fire in the Blood” by Irène Némirovsky

This article has been written by Grace Meador as part of our Semaine de Livre series of blog posts. Grace Meador is a student at Mamaroneck High School, currently volunteering at Alliance Française of Westchester to help our members and all local Francophiles find out more about some of the best books they can borrow from our library. If you’re interested in borrowing some of these books, please ask for further information at our front desk, or send us an email at


Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky takes place in Burgundy, France. Although not written about Némirovsky’s life, the setting of the story is a homage to where she spent most of her life. Silvio is the main character in the book. Once an avid traveler, he settles back to the town of his childhood to spend his older years. To the annoyance of his family, he is content with his rather lonely and subdued life. Silvio is different to the other characters in the book because he generally stays out of the drama and disorder that plagues his community. Silvio plays the role of the narrator as he uncovers the deep rooted secrets of this seemingly tranquil town. Through deaths, homicides, love triangles and affairs, this book encompasses the idea that people can’t hide from the fire that runs through their veins, the fire that makes them cheat.

Irène Némirovsky’s Life and Death

As a young girl, Irène Némirovsky fled Ukraine with her family and settled in France. However, as a Jew, she faced unimaginable perils. Némirovsky was sent to Auschwitz and, unfortunately, died after just a month of her arrival.

Lost Pages

At some time before her deportation, she began writing the infamous, Fire in the Blood. For decades, parts of this book were missing. Astonishingly, it was found just recently. Learning the story of Némirovsky’s life allows readers to gain the utmost admiration and respect for her. The words in her books bring light to her tragic yet remarkable life.

Other recommended readings

If you like Fire in the Blood, be sure to check out Némirovsky’s other books including Suite Françaisewhich is available at the Alliance Française of Westchester in both French and English. You might also like Le Bal and David Golder.