The Fictioning Horror Sale
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.00
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Available for In-store Pickup
in 7 to 12 days
Qty Store Section
3 Remote Warehouse Romance- General
25 Remote Warehouse Romance- General

The Great Fire

by

The Great Fire Cover

ISBN13: 9780312423582
ISBN10: 0312423586
All Product Details

 

Awards

Winner of the 2003 National Book Award for Fiction

Staff Pick

The Great Fire is one of the most sophisticated novels I’ve read in years. Beautiful writing and acute psychological insights.
Recommended by Mark, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing

You may already be familiar with some of the fanfare associated with Shirley Hazzard's novel The Great Fire, as it was her first novel in twenty years. Aldred Leith is one of those living in what's left of the Pacific Theatre in the years immediately following WWII, a region beginning to teem once again after surviving the unspeakable (though, try as they may, unforgettable) events of the war culminating in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite all of that, there is still love to be had that, while fragile, serves to foster new life, hope, and even joy.
Recommended by Gin, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

More than twenty years after the classic The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard returns to fiction with a novel that in the words of Ann Patchett "is brilliant and dazzling..."

The Great Fire is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of the great conflagration of 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 center 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 Asias coming centrality in world affairs, a man and a woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, struggling to reclaim their humanity. The Great Fire is a story of love in the aftermath of war by "purely and simply, one of the greatest writers working in English today." (Michael Cunningham)

Shirley Hazzard was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.

Ms. Hazzard's previous novels are The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), and The Transit of Venus (1981). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967). Her nonfiction works include Defeat of an Ideal (1973), Countenance of Truth (1990), and the memoir Greene on Capri (2000). She lives in New York, with sojourns in Italy.

Winner of the National Book Award

A New York Times Notable Book

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

A Chicago Tribune Best Book

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

A Library Journal Best Book

Winner of the Miles Franklin Prize

Booklist Editors' Choice

A Kiriyama Prize Finalist

The year is 1947. The great fire of the Second World War has convulsed Europe and Asia. In its wake, Aldred Leith, an acclaimed hero of the conflict, has spent two years in China at work on an account of world-transforming change there. Son of a famed and sexually ruthless novelist, Leith begins to resist his own self-sufficiency, nurtured by war. Peter Exley, another veteran and an art historian by training, is prosecuting war crimes committed by the Japanese. Both men have narrowly escaped death in battle, and Leith saved Exley's life. The men have maintained long-distance friendship in a postwar loneliness that haunts them both, and which has swallowed Exley whole. Now in their thirties, with their youth behind them and their world in ruins, both must invent the future and retrieve a private humanity.

Arriving in Occupied Japan to record the effects of the bomb at Hiroshima, Leith meets Benedict and Helen Driscoll, the Australian son and daughter of a tyrannical medical administrator. Benedict, at twenty, is doomed by a rare degenerative disease. Helen, still younger, is inseparable from her brother. Precocious, brilliant, sensitive, at home in the books they read together, these two have been, in Leith's words, delivered by literature. The young people capture Leith's sympathy; indeed, he finds himself struggling with his attraction to this girl whose feelings are as intense as his own and from whom he will soon be fatefully parted.

A deeply observed story of love and separation, of disillusion and recovered humanity, The Great Fire marks the much-awaited return to fiction of an author whose novel The Transit of Venus won the National Book Critics Circle Award and, twenty years after its publication, is considered a modern classic.

"What better gift . . . than a novel that confirms the value of the individualthe individual heart, mind, spiriteven 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

"Beauty is felt in almost every line of this austerely gorgeous work."Chicago Tribune

"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] subtle and unexpected prose."Regina Marler, Los Angeles Book Review

"What better gift . . . than a novel that confirms the value of the individualthe individual heart, mind, spiriteven 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

"The Great Fire is a perfect book, without a superfluous word . . . radiant."Eve Claxton, Time Out (New York)

"I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you The Great Fire is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait."Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

"Shirley Hazzard has written an 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

"A striking timeless novel with an aura of aged profundity . . . extraordinary [and arresting] . . . 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. Her story is eerily quiet, filled with despair but also traces of hope, caught indirectly, as astronomers locate dark matter by the way it bends light."Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor

"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 Hazzards sentences and set-pieces, is among the most transcendent works Ive ever had the pleasure of reading."Anita Shreve

"The most interesting novel published this year . . . Exquisitely crafted . . . Every sentence hits its mark."The Economist

"A new novel from Hazzard is a literary event. It's been two decades between the publication of The Transit of Venus and this magnificent book, but her burnished prose has not diminished in luster nor has her wisdom about the human condition . . . Hazzard writes gently, tenderly, yet with fierce knowledge of how a dearth of love can render lives meaningless. The purity of her sentences, each one resonant with implication, create an effortless flow. This is a quiet book, but one that carries portents well beyond its time and place, suggesting the disquieting state of our current world."Publishers Weekly

"This almost indescribably rich story (which will remind many of Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient) moves from strength to strength, and no reader will be unmoved by its sorrowing, soaring eloquence. One of the finest novels ever written about war and its aftermath, and well worth the 23-year wait."Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Shirley Hazzard has written an 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

Review:

"I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you The Great Fire is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait." Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

Review:

"[T]his almost indescribably rich story...moves from strength to strength, and no reader will be unmoved by its sorrowing, soaring eloquence. One of the finest novels ever written about war and its aftermath, and well worth the 23-year wait." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"[Her fans'] thrill over [Hazzard's] new novel will be completed; the long days and nights of waiting will be forgotten....Time and place have always been exactly evoked in Hazzard's fiction, and such is the case here....[B]eautifully atmospheric prose..." Brad Hooper, Booklist

Review:

"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." Anita Shreve, author of The Last Time They Met

Synopsis:

More than twenty years after the classic The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard returns to fiction with a novel that in the words of Ann Patchett is brilliant and dazzling...

The Great Fire is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of the great conflagration of 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 center 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. The Great Fire is a story of love in the aftermath of war by purely and simply, one of the greatest writers working in English today. (Michael Cunningham)

Shirley Hazzard was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.

Ms. Hazzard's previous novels are The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), and The Transit of Venus (1981). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967). Her nonfiction works include Defeat of an Ideal (1973), Countenance of Truth (1990), and the memoir Greene on Capri (2000). She lives in New York, with sojourns in Italy.

Winner of the National Book Award

A New York Times Notable Book

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

A Chicago Tribune Best Book

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

A Library Journal Best Book

Winner of the Miles Franklin Prize

Booklist Editors' Choice

A Kiriyama Prize Finalist

The year is 1947. The great fire of the Second World War has convulsed Europe and Asia. In its wake, Aldred Leith, an acclaimed hero of the conflict, has spent two years in China at work on an account of world-transforming change there. Son of a famed and sexually ruthless novelist, Leith begins to resist his own self-sufficiency, nurtured by war. Peter Exley, another veteran and an art historian by training, is prosecuting war crimes committed by the Japanese. Both men have narrowly escaped death in battle, and Leith saved Exley's life. The men have maintained long-distance friendship in a postwar loneliness that haunts them both, and which has swallowed Exley whole. Now in their thirties, with their youth behind them and their world in ruins, both must invent the future and retrieve a private humanity.

Arriving in Occupied Japan to record the effects of the bomb at Hiroshima, Leith meets Benedict and Helen Driscoll, the Australian son and daughter of a tyrannical medical administrator. Benedict, at twenty, is doomed by a rare degenerative disease. Helen, still younger, is inseparable from her brother. Precocious, brilliant, sensitive, at home in the books they read together, these two have been, in Leith's words, delivered by literature. The young people capture Leith's sympathy; indeed, he finds himself struggling with his attraction to this girl whose feelings are as intense as his own and from whom he will soon be fatefully parted.

A deeply observed story of love and separation, of disillusion and recovered humanity, The Great Fire marks the much-awaited return to fiction of an author whose novel The Transit of Venus won the National Book Critics Circle Award and, twenty years after its publication, is considered a modern classic.

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

Beauty is felt in almost every line of this austerely gorgeous work.--Chicago Tribune

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] subtle and unexpected prose.--Regina Marler, Los Angeles 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

The Great Fire is a perfect book, without a superfluous word . . . radiant.--Eve Claxton, Time Out (New York)

I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you The Great Fire is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait.--Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

Shirley Hazzard has written an hypnotic novel that unfolds like a dream: Japan, Southeast Asia, the end of one war and the b

Synopsis:

A finalist for the National Book Award, this is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of World War II. A man and woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, and struggle to reclaim their humanity.

About the Author

Shirley Hazzard is the author, most recently, of Greene on Capri, a memoir of Graham Greene, and several works of fiction, including The Evening of the Holiday, The Bay of Noon, and The Transit of Venus, winner of the 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in

New York City and Capri.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

glockenspiel, September 10, 2008 (view all comments by glockenspiel)
I was quite surprised by my reaction to this book. I was largely unable to become interested because the characters felt somehow stilted. In several cases, the dialog particularly struck me as almost pedantic. Now, I am generally the last person to demand high levels of realism from an author and try to follow the author's path to see what they have to say. Here, I felt rather like I was being shown that the author could do high minded literary work, and as a result, the spoken words of the characters often had a kind of self consciously high drama to them that felt unnatural. Because the 'unnatural' didn't feel deliberate, the dialog often felt flat. Many aspects of the writing are indeed compelling but the overall effect was lost on me.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312423582
Author:
Hazzard, Shirley
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Romance - General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20040731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.45 x 0.875 in

Other books you might like

  1. The Children's War Used Hardcover $9.95
  2. The Known World
    Used Hardcover $4.95
  3. The Master
    Used Trade Paper $4.50
  4. Rules for Old Men Waiting
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  5. Three Junes
    Used Trade Paper $5.95
  6. Small Island Used Trade Paper $4.95

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » National Book Award Winners
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » General

The Great Fire New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Picador USA - English 9780312423582 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The Great Fire is one of the most sophisticated novels I’ve read in years. Beautiful writing and acute psychological insights.

"Staff Pick" by ,

You may already be familiar with some of the fanfare associated with Shirley Hazzard's novel The Great Fire, as it was her first novel in twenty years. Aldred Leith is one of those living in what's left of the Pacific Theatre in the years immediately following WWII, a region beginning to teem once again after surviving the unspeakable (though, try as they may, unforgettable) events of the war culminating in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Despite all of that, there is still love to be had that, while fragile, serves to foster new life, hope, and even joy.

"Review" by , "Shirley Hazzard has written an 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."
"Review" by , "I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you The Great Fire is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait."
"Review" by , "[T]his almost indescribably rich story...moves from strength to strength, and no reader will be unmoved by its sorrowing, soaring eloquence. One of the finest novels ever written about war and its aftermath, and well worth the 23-year wait."
"Review" by , "[Her fans'] thrill over [Hazzard's] new novel will be completed; the long days and nights of waiting will be forgotten....Time and place have always been exactly evoked in Hazzard's fiction, and such is the case here....[B]eautifully atmospheric prose..."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , More than twenty years after the classic The Transit of Venus, Shirley Hazzard returns to fiction with a novel that in the words of Ann Patchett is brilliant and dazzling...

The Great Fire is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of the great conflagration of 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 center 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. The Great Fire is a story of love in the aftermath of war by purely and simply, one of the greatest writers working in English today. (Michael Cunningham)

Shirley Hazzard was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.

Ms. Hazzard's previous novels are The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), and The Transit of Venus (1981). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967). Her nonfiction works include Defeat of an Ideal (1973), Countenance of Truth (1990), and the memoir Greene on Capri (2000). She lives in New York, with sojourns in Italy.

Winner of the National Book Award

A New York Times Notable Book

A Los Angeles Times Best Book

A Chicago Tribune Best Book

A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book

A Library Journal Best Book

Winner of the Miles Franklin Prize

Booklist Editors' Choice

A Kiriyama Prize Finalist

The year is 1947. The great fire of the Second World War has convulsed Europe and Asia. In its wake, Aldred Leith, an acclaimed hero of the conflict, has spent two years in China at work on an account of world-transforming change there. Son of a famed and sexually ruthless novelist, Leith begins to resist his own self-sufficiency, nurtured by war. Peter Exley, another veteran and an art historian by training, is prosecuting war crimes committed by the Japanese. Both men have narrowly escaped death in battle, and Leith saved Exley's life. The men have maintained long-distance friendship in a postwar loneliness that haunts them both, and which has swallowed Exley whole. Now in their thirties, with their youth behind them and their world in ruins, both must invent the future and retrieve a private humanity.

Arriving in Occupied Japan to record the effects of the bomb at Hiroshima, Leith meets Benedict and Helen Driscoll, the Australian son and daughter of a tyrannical medical administrator. Benedict, at twenty, is doomed by a rare degenerative disease. Helen, still younger, is inseparable from her brother. Precocious, brilliant, sensitive, at home in the books they read together, these two have been, in Leith's words, delivered by literature. The young people capture Leith's sympathy; indeed, he finds himself struggling with his attraction to this girl whose feelings are as intense as his own and from whom he will soon be fatefully parted.

A deeply observed story of love and separation, of disillusion and recovered humanity, The Great Fire marks the much-awaited return to fiction of an author whose novel The Transit of Venus won the National Book Critics Circle Award and, twenty years after its publication, is considered a modern classic.

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

Beauty is felt in almost every line of this austerely gorgeous work.--Chicago Tribune

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] subtle and unexpected prose.--Regina Marler, Los Angeles 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

The Great Fire is a perfect book, without a superfluous word . . . radiant.--Eve Claxton, Time Out (New York)

I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant' and 'dazzling' that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you The Great Fire is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait.--Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

Shirley Hazzard has written an hypnotic novel that unfolds like a dream: Japan, Southeast Asia, the end of one war and the b

"Synopsis" by , A finalist for the National Book Award, this is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of World War II. A man and woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, and struggle to reclaim their humanity.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.