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The Arsonist - Sue Miller

Paperback

Published: 1st July 2014
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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Senator's Wife, a sophisticated and subtle novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist wreaks havoc in a small town

Fleeing the end of an affair, and troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley comes home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident?

Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognise her father's slow failing and her mother's desperation, and she tentatively gets to know the new owner of the local newspaper, another house burns, and then another. These frightening events open the deep social fault lines in the town and raise questions about how and where one ought to live, and what it really means to lead a fulfilling life.

'Miller writes with grace and poise, crafting an examination of love and loss that is both understated and emotionally charged' Guardian

'An acutely observant writer capable of revealing painful emotional truths about the human condition. It heartbreaking moments like this that reveal why so many have come to be fans of Miller's flawed, yet insightful, fiction' Sunday Telegraph

Read Caroline Baum's Review

Frankie is back from being an Aid worker in Africa. She's come home to Pomeroy, the small New Hampshire town where her parents live and where her mother is increasingly anxious about her father's memory lapses. Frankie is not sure how long she is going to stay, or what her next move will be. She's ended an affair and is at a loose end, dreaming about maybe going to New York to start a new chapter. But in the meantime, an arsonist is lighting fires in Pomeroy and the community is unsettled.

As more and more houses burn, Frankie finds companionship and affection from local newspaper editor Bud. He treads carefully, sensing that she does not want commitment.

I really enjoyed the slow build-up of emotional tension in this beautifully nuanced, slow moving novel with its finely drawn characters. Scenes in which mother and daughter converse about Frankie's father's deteriorating health are especially deft, addressing uncomfortable truths with subtlety. The dynamics of a small town are explored with sharp-eyed finesse and there is a clean, spare intelligence and sensitivity in Miller's unadorned prose: its economy gives weight to every phrase and detail, making this a very satisfying read.

About the Author

Sue Miller was born in Chicago in 1943. She is the bestselling author of nine previous novels including The Good Mother, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, Lost in the Forest, The Lake Shore Limited, the acclaimed memoir The Story of My Father and the Richard & Judy hit The Senator's Wife. Sue Miller lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Miller writes with tremendous subtlety and perception Daily Mail I was very moved by this subtle and truthful book. Sue Miller's writing, while never showy, builds an honest, elegant world around the reader Sadie Jones on Lake Shore Limited An acutely observant writer capable of revealing painful emotional truths about the human condition . It's heartbreaking moments like this that reveal why so many have come to be fans of Miller's flawed, yet insightful, fiction Sunday Telegraph on Lake Shore Limited Miller writes with grace and poise, crafting an examination of love and loss that is both understated and emotionally charged Guardian

ISBN: 9781408857236
ISBN-10: 1408857235
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st July 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Dimensions (cm): 21.6 x 13.5  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.38