Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard - 2003

Shirley Hazzard on The Reading Life

My thanks to Max u for The Amazon Gift Card that allowed me to acquire this work. 
 Winner U.S.A National Book Award for Fiction, 2003

Born 1931. Sydney, Australia

Died 2016, New York City, U.S.A 

The Great Fire is the first novel by Shirley Hazzard I have had the pleasure of experiencing.  Last month I read and posted on one of her short stories, “Cliffs of Fall”.

The great fire refers, among other things, to the destruction of the traditional culture of Japan in their defeat in World War Two.  Set in 1947, mostly in Japan and Australia, the people in the novel are trying to get on with their lives now that the war is over.  Some of the men were badly wounded, all suffer mental trauma, parents struggle to understand why their son had to die.  The great fire is also, mentioned several times, a symbolic representation of the bombing of Hiroshima.

One of the certral characters, Alfred Leith, 32, is in Japan to write about impact defeat had on Japanese society.  He is involved in a romance with a woman of 17, the daughter of an Australian Brigadier General.

The characters are all readers, my kind of people!  

The characters are quite subtly developed.  The conversations are very interesting.  The prose is old fashionedly exquiste. The sentences are marvelous.

I enjoyed this novel a lot.  I read a review that compared her style to Elizabeth Bowen, a writer I have read extensively.


Buried In Print said...

Is she on your ReadEverythingYouCan list? I seem to remember you having said that at some point...

Mel u said...

Buried in Print. Sadly her acknowledged by all best work, Transit of Venus is not available as an E book. I will read more of her work but not yet ready to commit to all.