The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
A Novel

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Synopsis

A great writer's sweeping story of men and women struggling to reclaim their lives in the aftermath of world conflict     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 center of the story, Aldred Leith, a brave and brilliant soldier, finds that survival and worldly achievement are not enough. Helen Driscoll, 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 the winner of the 2003 National Book Award for Fiction.
 

About Shirley Hazzard

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Born in Sydney, Australia, Shirley Hazzard has lived in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Italy, and the United States. She is the author of the acclaimed novel, The Transit of Venus (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award), as well as several other works of fiction, and most recently a memoir of Graham Greene, Green on Capri.
 
Published April 1, 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 337 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, History, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Great Fire

Kirkus Reviews

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Hazzard painstakingly constructs a compact panorama of a world ravaged by war, in her expert fourth novel--and first since the NBCC Award winner, The Transit of Venus (1980).

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Great Fire: A Novel

The Guardian

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This author is too intelligent to pretend that romance can reverse the entropic principle to which we are all subjected sooner or later, but the very last words of the book allow for the possibility that love may at least light us as we go, even if it can't prevent our departure.

Nov 14 2003 | Read Full Review of The Great Fire: A Novel

The Guardian

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Some of the speeches sound stilted, and towards the end of the book, when Leith and Helen are separated, the narrative is in danger of dwindling into correspondence, just as Leith's earlier friendships are said to 'diminish into postcards'.

Dec 13 2003 | Read Full Review of The Great Fire: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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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 burnish

Aug 25 2003 | Read Full Review of The Great Fire: A Novel

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