Smoke has as many different scents as skin. Part of the pleasure is not knowing what it will be -- sulfurous or closer to incense or airier and sweeter as I imagine the smell of clouds.
Ella is a connoisseur of fire, a woman enthralled by it as other women are by love. She savors the seductive promise of a spark, the caress of a curling wisp of smoke, the all-consuming hunger of a spreading blaze. Ella's heart seethes with a rage that can be spoken only with tongues of flame.
In her remarkable first novel, Rene Steinke has created a narrator so lyrical and lucid in her madness as to raise the book to the level of romance. Trapped in a sleepy Indiana town, torn by inner demons that drive her to pyromania and promiscuity, Ella is at once entirely original and unforgettably real.
As she struggles to come to terms with her family's tormented past and her own uncertain future, she draws the mesmerized reader ever deeper into her scorched soul, revealing a sensuality that will spiral into final, fiery destruction -- unless it can be quenched by love.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
"Once I tried to burn an old toy--a mechanical duck. When I'd found it at the bottom of a drawer, it reminded me of the groggy sunrise Easter service and the hunt for eggs in the graveyard. After I set the match to its tail, it started walking pitifully on its metal legs, and it knocked around the room singeing the walls and linoleum until it burned down to its metal frame and folded with a crackle and small battery explosion. It is less dangerous to burn things than to save them."
Ella, 22, is a trapped young woman limited to the flickers of release she finds in pyromania. Having abandoned college, she is stuck in her small, Midwestern hometown, suffocated by the silence of her repressed mother and grandmother and physically encased in ropy scars from the fire in which she was severely burned as a child. In this mesmerizing first novel, we follow her incendiary trail as Ella tries to cope with many losses: her father to cancer; her grandfather to suicide; her favorite aunt, whose whereabouts are unknown; and, finally, her sense of herself--both apart from and as one with the shocking scars that bind her skin. Ella pokes nervously at smoldering truths, but in her family the lies come as quick and fast as the deaths--and each new deceit sparks the impulse to inflame. Fire is made of grief, Ella believes, and she witnesses plenty of both in a story as entrancing and powerful as the lick and curl of a flame. --Brangien DavisAbout the Author:
René Steinke is the author of The Fires. She is the editor in chief of The Literary Review and teaches creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Book Description William Morrow 1999-02-17, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0688161502 Has stickers on cover. Otherwise in new condition. Over 1,000,000 satisfied customers since 1997! We ship daily M-F. Choose expedited shipping (if available) for much faster delivery. Delivery confirmation on all US orders. Bookseller Inventory # Z0688161502ZN
Book Description William Morrow, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0688161502
Book Description William Morrow, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0688161502
Book Description William Morrow, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110688161502
Book Description William Morrow. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0688161502 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0267306