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Night of Fire
by Colin Thubron


Overview -

Award-winning, bestselling novelist and travel writer Colin Thubron returns to fiction with his first novel in more than a decade, a searing, poetic masterwork of memory.

A house is burning, threatening the existence of its six tenants--including a failed priest; a naturalist; a neurosurgeon; an invalid dreaming of his anxious boyhood; and their landlord, whose relationship to the tenants is both intimate and shadowy.  Read more...


 
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More About Night of Fire by Colin Thubron
 
 
 
Overview

Award-winning, bestselling novelist and travel writer Colin Thubron returns to fiction with his first novel in more than a decade, a searing, poetic masterwork of memory.

A house is burning, threatening the existence of its six tenants--including a failed priest; a naturalist; a neurosurgeon; an invalid dreaming of his anxious boyhood; and their landlord, whose relationship to the tenants is both intimate and shadowy. At times, he shares their preoccupations and memories. He will also share their fate.

In Night of Fire, the passions and obsessions in a dying house loom and shift, from those of the hallucinating drug addict in the basement to the landlord training his rooftop telescope on the night skies. As the novel progresses, the tenants' diverse stories take us through an African refugee camp, Greek Orthodox monasteries, and the cremation grounds of India. Haunting the edges of their lives are memories. Will these remembrances be consumed forever by the flames? Or can they survive in some form?

Night of Fire is Colin Thubron's fictive masterpiece: a novel of exquisite beauty, philosophical depth, and lingering mystery that is a brilliant meditation on life itself.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062499745
  • ISBN-10: 0062499742
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.28 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Psychological
Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Visionary & Metaphysical

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-10-24
  • Reviewer: Staff

A Victorian house somewhere near the sea, ruined over time, is burning down. Chapter by chapter, room by smoky room, Thubrons remarkable novel journeys into the lives of the houses six occupants, mining their pasts and the places theyve traveled for answers to questions that have plagued mankind since Socrates. What is memory? Does it constitute ones very self, or conquer death as something inherited, like a story? Looking through his telescope for wisdom, the landlord muses on the vastness of the stars. The priest, who no longer believes, relives a tragedy resulting from faiths melancholy absence. The neurosurgeon, a coldhearted rationalist, is confronted by a patient who pleads with him not to erase her memories of a dead lover when extracting a tumor from her brain. The young naturalist, in love with butterflies, finds the infinite under a microscope. And the photographer searches for lifes essence in the portraits he takes. By the time we arrive at the luminous chapter devoted to the traveler, it is clear these restless tenants have more in common than we first imagined. All of them recognize, as the traveler does, that an obscure rankling never quite diedas if there had, after all, been a destination that had eluded him. (Jan.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The tenants

In the middle of the night, an electrical fire sparks in the basement of an apartment building. The outcome is set early: The people inside are likely to die. Colin Thubron steps up to the challenge of making his readers care about characters they will soon lose as he tells each tenant’s story. 

In one flat, a priest reflects upon the seed of his faith and the heart-wrenching circumstances that permanently uprooted him from his beliefs. A neurosurgeon sleeps alone despite having worked up the courage to recently get engaged. Across the hall resides a woman who dedicated her life to the study of butterflies. In the basement, a photographer has turned to drugs to fulfill a life left empty by uninspired work and disappointing loves. The oldest tenant mulls over the still-tender memories of his younger years at boarding school. A world traveler contemplates a transformative trip to India during which he revisited the town where he was raised. 

All seven tenants experience overlapping struggles and joys that suture their stories together. At times it seems as though Thubron has created only one character with many lifetimes, while still allowing each to be somehow unique, giving the novel an allegorical tone.

Thubron is a seasoned author and a master of travel writing. He creates magnificent imagery through truly remarkable vocabulary that is often too precise to define with the use of context clues alone. The most rewarding aspect of Night of Fire is that it is left open to interpretation, making it a perfect pick for a book club discussion. It is not necessarily a quick read, but it certainly lingers in the mind.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook

 
BAM Customer Reviews