Coverart for item
The Resource The stars are fire : a novel, Anita Shreve

The stars are fire : a novel, Anita Shreve

Label
The stars are fire : a novel
Title
The stars are fire
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Anita Shreve
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A novel based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine's history follows the experiences of a pregnant woman who struggles to protect her two young children and watches her home burn while her husband joins the volunteer firefighters
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
LibraryReads Favorites, 2017
Review
  • After the wettest spring in memory, the summer of 1947 is dry and scorching in coastal Maine. Grace welcomes the long days that allow her to get out with her two young children, but at home, they only heighten the turbulence in her struggling marriage. Life changes overnight when wildfires sweep down the coast, destroying everything in their path. Through a terror-filled night, Grace manages to save herself and her children, but by morning, their home is gone and her husband is missing. With little education or job experience, Grace takes a risk by moving her family to a new town and taking work where she can find it. She thrives in her new surroundings, but rebuilding one’s life does not mean that the past won’t find you. Though the characters lack dimension, best-selling Shreve’s (Stella Bain, 2013) portrayal of a community in a natural disaster is on point, and Grace’s self-discovery in her time of need is genuine. Ultimately, this is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of not just overcoming but also growing in the face of great difficulty.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A robust print run, avid publicity, and an author tour will drum up interest in Shreve’s latest page-turner. -- Ophoff, Cortney (Reviewed 4/15/2017) (Booklist, vol 113, number 16, p36)
  • Grace, a young woman with two small children, lives by the coast in Maine in 1947. Her marriage isn't very happy, but she's dutiful and devoted to her children. After escaping a devastating fire that wiped out her town and nearby forests, Grace has to become braver, stronger, and more resourceful than she's ever had to be before. She manages it, and it's lovely to watch happen, until something unexpected makes her life contract once more. This was deeply engaging and opened a real window on what it would have been like to be a woman in a small town in the 1940s. -- Diana Armstrong, Multomah County Library, Portland, OR. (LibraryReads, April 2017)
  • Stuck in a loveless and uncommunicative marriage with her husband, Gene, young housewife and mother Grace Holland has resigned herself to a future of childcare and housework. It’s just after World War II, and there aren’t many other opportunities for married women in coastal Maine. But when, after a summer-long drought, a massive fire breaks out and threatens her home and community, Grace may have an unexpected chance not only to rebuild but also to rewrite her personal narrative. Shreve (Stella Bain) writes with fondness of the coastal New England landscape, and she provides plenty of vintage details to evoke postwar life. Characterizations, however, are less convincing; Gene’s cruelty to Grace seems disproportionate to its purported rationale, and the novel’s final pages feel implausible and anachronistic, even given Grace’s newfound self-reliance. Nevertheless, many readers will be buoyed by Grace’s strength and resourcefulness and will be eager to debate the ethical decisions she makes as she seizes her independence. 200,000-copy announced first printing. (Apr.) --Staff (Reviewed 02/27/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 09, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ Shreve's (Stella Bain) latest brings readers to 1947 coastal Maine. In a close-knit town, Grace Holland, a young mother of two, enjoys camaraderie with her neighbor Rosie. She feels herself relax into discussions with Rosie that she can't have with her taciturn husband or her loving but rather rigid mother. In a time when the only advance warning for fire is the smell of smoke, residents prepare ahead of time. Grace wakes to the sound of her daughter coughing, bundles her children into the baby carriage, and carries them to the beach, where she thinks quickly enough to prepare protective wet air pockets from blankets, ordering Rosie to do the same. As the town burns around her, Grace rises to handle each astonishing ordeal as she meets it. VERDICT Based on the harrowing true story of the largest fire to ravage the coast of Maine, this is sure to be a best seller. Shreve's prose mirrors the action of the fire, with popping embers of action, licks of blazing rage, and the slow burn of lyrical character development. Absolutely stunning. [See Prepub Alert, 11/16/16; "Editors' Spring Picks," LJ 2/15/17.]—Julie Kane, Washingrton & Lee Lib., Lexington, VA --Julie Kane (Reviewed 03/15/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 5, p113)
  • Shreve's latest takes on natural disasters, public and private.The summer of 1947 was unseasonably hot, leading to a drought that had devastating consequences for the state of Maine. Shreve's novel tells the story of the Great Fires of Maine from the perspective of Grace, a housewife living near the coast. Grace faces a drought of a different kind, in her marriage. Husband Gene, a surveyor, never talks about the war experiences that left him with inner and outer scars, but "the other husbands don't either." What is unusual, at least compared to how Grace's neighbor Rosie describes her love life, is how brutal Gene can be in bed. With two children under 2 and another on the way, Grace's domestic arrangements are increasingly stressed as blistering summer advances. By October, the entire state is a tinderbox; even a dropped cigarette can set a parched lawn ablaze. As wildfires threaten, Gene leaves with a crew of men to dig a fire break. Awakened in the middle of the night, Grace realizes her town is burning. She flees to the seashore with her children and the clothes on her back and spends the night along with Rosie and many others huddled under soaked blankets. After rescue comes, Grace's baby is stillborn. Now homeless, with the children and her mother in tow, Grace moves into a vacant beach-side mansion which, she thinks, was left to Gene by his late mother, Merle. Except that Gene has been declared missing, and the mansion is not unoccupied: Aidan, an Irish pianist, has been squatting there since the fire disrupted his concert tour. Gene's absence seems downright salutary. A brief affair with Aidan shows her what Rosie was talking about, and he resumes his tour, promising to return. All the contentedness stalls the novel, until Shreve shakes things up in a way that descends into woman-in-jeopardy territory. The back stories of the main characters are so sketchy that their actions seem unmotivated and arbitrary. Formulaic plot aside, worth reading for the period detail and the evocative prose.(Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10557187
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Shreve, Anita
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
LC call number
PS3569.H7385
LC item number
S68 2017
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Great Fire, Maine, 1947
  • Life change events
  • Single mothers
Target audience
adult
Label
The stars are fire : a novel, Anita Shreve
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
241 pages
Isbn
9780385350907
Lccn
2016032868
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 959535317
  • (OCoLC)959535317
Label
The stars are fire : a novel, Anita Shreve
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
24 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
241 pages
Isbn
9780385350907
Lccn
2016032868
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • 959535317
  • (OCoLC)959535317

Library Locations

    • James City County LibraryBorrow it
      7770 Croaker Road, Williamsburg, VA, 23188, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
    • Williamsburg LibraryBorrow it
      515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US
      37.377573 -76.770995
Processing Feedback ...