The Fires of Autumn is one of bestselling author Irène Némirovsky’s later works; first published in France in 1957, many years after her death at Auschwitz. In this novel she tells the story of idealistic young Bernard Jacquelain, who fought in World War I only to return home to Paris a changed man. Estranged from those around him, and desperate to achieve success, he moves into a world of excess and corruption.
This panoramic exploration of French life between the wars reads like a prequel to Irène Némirovsky’s international bestseller Suite Française.
At the end of the First World War, Bernard Jacquelain returns from the trenches a changed man. Broken by the unspeakable horrors he has witnessed, he becomes addicted to the lure of wealth and success. He wallows in the corruption and excess of post-war Paris, but when his lover abandons him, Bernard turns to a childhood friend for comfort. For ten years, he lives the good bourgeois life, but when the drums of war begin to sound again, everything around which he has rebuilt himself starts to crumble, and the future—of his marriage and of his country—suddenly becomes terribly uncertain.
Written after Némirovsky fled Paris in 1940, just two years before her death, and first published in France in 1957, The Fires of Autumn is a coruscating, tragic novel of war and its aftermath, and of the ugly color it can turn a man's soul.
About the Author
Irène Némirovsky was born in Kiev in 1903 into a wealthy banking family and immigrated to France during the Russian Revolution. After attending the Sorbonne in Paris, she began to write and swiftly achieved success with David Golder, which was followed by more than a dozen other books. Throughout her lifetime she published widely in French newspapers and literary journals. She died in Auschwitz in 1942. More than sixty years later, Suite Française was published posthumously for the first time in 2006.
Praise for Irène Némirovsky:
“Némirovsky was incapable of producing anything less than an enchanting novel. She has an irresistible talent for creating character and incident.” —The Guardian (London)
“Némirovsky wrote, for all to read at last, some of the greatest, most humane and incisive fiction that conflict has produced.” —The New York Times Book Review
“[Némirovsky] achieve[s] her penetrating insights with Flaubertian objectivity.” —The Washington Post Book World