Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky

Fire in the Blood
328 pages; Knopf
Posthumous second acts are tough. But Fire in the Blood (Knopf), a newly translated work by Iréne Nèmirovsky, who died in Auschwitz in 1942 and whose Suite Française was last year's literary revelation, is an almost perfect miniature, a tale of divided loves and loyalties set in an insular rural French village. "I sensed I was in the presence of blazing dreams and desires," says the narrator, "I who was so old, so empty, so restrained..." Yet it is his carefully corked passion, his rueful connoisseur's appreciation of the tranquillity born of disappointment, that makes this novel quietly burn.
— Cathleen Medwick