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The Great Fire

Shirley Hazzard

Paperback

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The Great Fire

Synopsis

The Great Fire is Shirley Hazzard s first novel since The Transit of Venus, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981. The conflagration of her title is the Second World War. In war-torn Asia and stricken Europe, men and women, still young but veterans of harsh experience, must reinvent their lives and expectations, and learn, from their past, to dream again. Some will fulfill their destinies, others will falter. At the centre of the story, a brave and brilliant soldier finds that survival and worldly achievement are not enough. His counterpart, a young girl living in Occupied Japan and tending her dying brother, falls in love, and in the process discovers herself. In the looming shadow of world enmities resumed, and of Asia s coming centrality in world affairs, a man and a woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, struggling to reclaim their humanity.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781844080571
Category:
Second World War Fiction
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
2004-05-06
Publisher:
Virago Press LTD
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Edition:
New ed
Pages:
320
Pagination:
320 pages
Dimensions (mm):
197x129x21mm
Weight:
224g

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  • Zero Stars

    better than Transit

    02/08/2011

    The Great Fire is the 5th novel by Australian author, Shirley Hazzard. Set firstly in immediate post-war Japan and Hong Kong, then in England and New Zealand, this is the story of Aldred Leith, author, researching a book on China and Japan and Peter Exley, solicitor and fine art enthusiast, investigating Japanese war crimes. Leith encounters, whilst researching Hiroshima, a brother and sister, Ben and Helen Driscoll. Ben has a condition which is slowly killing him. Helen is on the cusp of adulthood. Essentially a love story, this novel is filled with beautiful, descriptive prose, but builds very slowly and Hazzard seems somewhat detached from her characters. Her love of literature is apparent. I liked the device Hazzard used to indicate thoughts during dialogue. this is what he said, and what he thought as he was saying it, and what else he said. It certainly made me pay attention to the quotation marks. As with the Transit of Venus, this novel is beautifully written and lovers of language will enjoy the experience. I found the plot and the characters much better than Transit and overall, certainly a more satisfying novel than The Transit of Venus.

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