- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: MACMILLAN USA (24 September 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250239427
- ISBN-13: 978-1250239426
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 3 x 15.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 308 g
- Customer Reviews: 38 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
GREAT FIRE Hardcover – 24 September 2019
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"Beauty is felt in almost every line of this austerely gorgeous work." --Chicago Tribune
"So majestic in scope and so sophisticated in diction it evokes a rhapsodic gratitude in the reader...Calls to mind the writerly command of A.S. Byatt, Lawrence Durrell, Nadine Gordimer, and Graham Greene." --The San Diego Union-Tribune
"The last masterpiece of a vanished age of civility." --The Wall Street Journal
"[The Great Fire] sails into port like a magnificent ship of fiction from another era." --Entertainment Weekly
"The Great Fire is about both the destructive conflagrations of war and the restorative conflagrations of the heart. Hazzard's moving, generous story paints love as the greatest rescuer of all--as apt today in our troubling, troubled world as it was 55 years ago." --San Francisco Chronicle
"Hazzard writes with an extraordinary command of geography and time.... Flashes of violence cut through the contemplative narrative, but in her exquisitely cut sentences, hazzard concentrates on the subtler movements of these hearts cauterized by violence." -- Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor
"A hypnotic novel that unfolds like a dream: Japan, Southeast Asia, the end of one war and the beginning of another, the colonial order gone, and at the center of it all, a love story."--Joan Didion, author of Where I Was From
"Stunning . . . Shirley Hazzard has gifted us, in The Great Fire, a novel of indispensable happiness and sorrow. I loved this novel beyond dreams."
--Howard Norman, The Washington Post Book World
"A classic romance . . . the greatest pleasure is [Hazzard's] subtle and unexpected prose."
--Regina Marler, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"What better gift . . . than a novel that confirms the value of the individual--the individual heart, mind, spirit--even amidst the obfuscating demands of history and politics and culture ... . [The Great Fire] is a novel of incredible emotional wisdom, full of authentic characters, vivid places, and language that is both precise and beautiful."
--Alice McDermott, Commonweal magazine
"The Great Fire . . . streaks through a reader's ken in the manner of a comet."
--Thomas Mallon, The Atlantic Monthly
"[Hazzard's] prose remains one of the glories of English literature."
--Charles Taylor, Newsday, "Our Favorite Books of 2003"
"The Great Fire is a perfect book, without a superfluous word . . . radiant."
--Eve Claxton, Time Out (New York)
"The most interesting novel published this year . . . Exquisitely crafted ... Every sentence hits its mark."
"Brilliant and dazzling . . . A book that is worth a twenty-year wait."
"The Great Fire is a brilliant, brave, and sublimely written novel that allows the literate reader the consolation of having touched infinity. This wonderful book, which must be read at least twice simply to savor Hazzard's sentences and set pieces, is among the most transcendent works I've ever had the pleasure of reading."
"Purely and simply, one of the greatest writers working in English today."
About the Author
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Top international reviews
A book to read, and then re-read.
This is just an amazing novel. It's one of those books that has some flaws but is so terrific that I just have to disregard them and strongly recommend it to you. Hey, "Jane Eyre" and "Crime and Punishment" have serious flaws, too. I'll briefly summarize the problems: I think Hazzard's generally beautiful and understated prose can tend towards the purposefully obscure -- a little more information is sometimes needed (this novel is not for the dim) -- although the story is very clear, even in its details. I also didn't like that the British protagonist's main act of heroism in war was never described (only the events behind his less important decoration were, as I understood it). Most importantly, the Australian's story was never resolved, which I think is a serious error.
Finally, I also want to point out that there is some serious suspense about the final resolution of the plot. Which makes a few of the negative reviews below kind of funny.
Go read this novel. I loved it. I mean loved it.
Set against the backdrop of post WW II occupation, Hazzard expresses so many emotions and feelings in one book, that it is truly exceptional. With a basic anti-war theme throughout, she creates a love story, a very unlikely love story, that is the central theme of the book. But within, she shows us, despair, sadness, mutilation, ennui, elation and imbecility, side by side with love, tenderness, sensitivity, human kindness and purity of heart, especially, as that purity meets the cruel, real world. The book takes a very long trip through an existential reality, yet shows how such reality can be controlled, at least partly, by our decisions and actions.
With stylistic brilliance, Hazzard creates metaphors that are truly magical, and even uses some hugely effective and informative epistilary style with mail, that is not instant, but takes weeks sometimes to travel halfway around the world. Yet in the face of all this turbulence, this destruction, this horror, what may prevail as the strongest thing, is true and pure love. While the concept is surely not new, the manner in which Ms. Hazzard expresses it surely is.
This book is suggested for any reader interested in some of the most profound and exquisite writing to be found. It has appeal to virtually every group of thinking readers. It is a book that speaks to the reader on many levels, but to all of the readers, it has a way of speaking to them personally.