The Arsonist (Signed Book)

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Overview

From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator's Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fires to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town. 

After decades of summering in Pomeroy, New Hampshire, Sylvia Rowley has decided to retire to the house she loves with her brilliant but increasingly scattered husband, Alfie, until now a professor at the local college. Her son, Clark, is ...

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The Arsonist: A novel

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Overview

From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator's Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fires to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town. 

After decades of summering in Pomeroy, New Hampshire, Sylvia Rowley has decided to retire to the house she loves with her brilliant but increasingly scattered husband, Alfie, until now a professor at the local college. Her son, Clark, is renovating a small house on their property. Her daughter Frankie, who lives and works in Africa, returns home for her first extended visit in years and begins an unexpected romance with the editor of the local newspaper, himself newly arrived and hoping to save it. Over the course of two summer months, class and social fault lines are exposed, and the simmering question of who owns the land and the town is brought to a boil as fires continue to rage through Pomeroy's homes and the arsonist remains at large.   

Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Miller—a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, possibility and finitude, and the question of how and where to live, what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385353847
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/24/2014
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 81,111
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Miller is the best-selling author of the novels The Lake Shore Limited, The Senator's Wife, Lost in the Forest, The World Below, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, and The Good Mother; the story collection Inventing the Abbotts; and the memoir The Story of My Father. She lives in Boston.

Biography

Since her iconic first novel, The Good Mother in 1986, Sue Miller has distinguished herself as one of our most elegant and widely celebrated chroniclers of family life, with a singular gift for laying bare the interior lives of her characters.

While not strictly speaking autobiographical, Miller's fiction is, nonetheless, shaped by her experiences. Born into an academic and ecclesiastical family, she grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park and went to college at Harvard. She was married at 20 and held down a series of odd jobs until her son Ben was born in 1968. She separated from her first husband in 1971, subsequently divorced, and for 13 years was a single parent in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working in day care, taking in roomers, and writing whenever she could.

In these early years, Miller's productivity was directly proportional to her ability to win grants and fellowships. An endowment in 1979 allowed her to enroll in the Creative Writing Program at Boston University. A few of her stories were accepted for publication, and she began teaching in the Boston area. Two additional grants in the 1980s enabled her to concentrate on writing fulltime. Published in 1986, her first novel became an international bestseller.

Since then, success has followed success. Two of Miller's books (The Good Mother and Inventing the Abbots) have been made into feature films; her 1990 novel Family Pictures was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award; Oprah Winfrey selected While I Was Gone for her popular Book Club; and in 2004, a first foray into nonfiction -- the poignant, intensely personal memoir The Story of My Father -- was widely praised for its narrative eloquence and character dramatization.

Miller is a distinguished practitioner of "domestic fiction," a time-honored genre stretching back to Jane Austen, Henry James, and Leo Tolstoy and honed to perfection by such modern literary luminaries as John Updike, Flannery O'Connor, and Richard Ford. A careful observer of quotidian detail, she stretches her novels across the canvas of home and hearth, creating extraordinary stories out of the quiet intimacies of marriage, family, and friendship. In an article written for the New York Times "Writers on Writing" series, she explains: "For me everyday life in the hands of a fine writer seems ... charged with meaning. When I write, I want to bring a sense of that charge, that meaning, to what may fairly be called the domestic."

Good To Know

Here are some fascinating outtakes from our interview with Sue Miller:
  • "I come from a long line of clergy. My father was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian church, though as I grew up, he was primarily an academic at several seminaries -- the University of Chicago, and then Princeton. Both my grandfathers were also ministers, and their fathers too. It goes back farther than that in a more sporadic way."

  • "I spent a year working as a cocktail waitress in a seedy bar just outside New Haven, Connecticut. Think high heels, mesh tights, and the concentrated smell of nicotine. Think of the possible connections of this fact to the first fact, above."

  • "I like northern California, where we've had a second home we're selling -- it's just too far away from Boston. I've had a garden there that has been a delight to create, as the plants are so different from those in New England, which is where I've done most of my gardening. I had to read up on them. I studied Italian gardens too -- the weather is very Mediterranean. I like weeding -- it's almost a form of meditation."

  • "I like little children. I loved working in daycare and talking to kids, learning how they form their ideas about the world's workings -- always intriguing, often funny. I try to have little children in my life, always."

  • "I want to make time to take piano lessons again. I did it for a while as an adult and enjoyed it.

  • "I like to cook and to have people over. I love talking with people over good food and wine. Conversation -- it's one of life's deepest pleasures."
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      1. Hometown:
        Boston, Massachusetts
      1. Date of Birth:
        November 29, 1943
      2. Place of Birth:
        Chicago, Illinois
      1. Education:
        B.A., Radcliffe College, 1964; M.A.T., Wesleyan U., 1965; Ed.M., Harvard U., 1975; M.A. Boston U., 1980

    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 3
    ( 16 )
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    Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
    • Posted July 22, 2014

      Interesting story

      Enjoyed this book. It was a fun, good read, a good story about people and complicated relationships that go along with it. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys "people stories".

      4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted July 25, 2014

      Excellent summer read!

      I could not put the story down. It kept my interest to the end.

      2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted July 22, 2014

      Awful

      Read a review in a magazine so was excited to read this book. It starts out slow and the characters are boring. Kept reading since it wasnt cheap, got about half way through and quit, it just didnt go anywhere but from slow to slower to stop

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted June 25, 2014

      Vesperwind

      She padded in. "Though I might go hunting too." She grinned and leapt on a vole.

      2 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted July 26, 2014

      enjoyable reading

      i really like this author.

      1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted July 1, 2014

      Gdhd

      *•••

      1 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted October 20, 2014

      Disappointed

      I read the Senator's Wife and looked forward to reading this book. Found that the book dragged and the characters were not interesting. Very disappointed. Glad it was a library book and that i had not purchased it.

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Posted September 5, 2014

      *** I recommend it for the realistic portrayal of the characters

      Bud is the most likable, patient, long-suffering person he is and I felt badly for him as he lived through Frankie's ambivalence and conflicted ups and downs. The portrait of her father's rowing dementia was most realistic and heart-breaking.
      Sue Miller draws realistic characters but I was let down by the ambivalent ending re the arsonist.
      It's not a page-turner but worth reading.

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    • Posted July 18, 2014

      Not her best

      I've read all of Sue Miller's books. This is a good book, but not her best.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 18, 2014

      I enjoyed this book-good for light reading.

      a fun summertime read! suspense and romance. I liked it.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 7, 2014

      JOIN ASHCLAN

      Join ashclan at asher res 1

      0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 4, 2014

      Is this book appropriate for children

      Just wondering.

      0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 1, 2014

      Stormtail

      U still on?

      0 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted July 1, 2014

      Lilyflame

      Not to brag bit my pc world was just a normal world. Till i worked on it for five months. And now everything in the world is part of the castle.

      0 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted October 12, 2014

      No text was provided for this review.

    • Anonymous

      Posted August 11, 2014

      No text was provided for this review.

    Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews

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