BN.com Gift Guide

The Fires: Two Novellas

Overview

Finely-honed portraits of hope and change, these two novellas are linked so skillfully that they achieve the intensity of a single novel in which some characters succeed and others fail on separate but equally compelling quests. In "The Fires," Gina Morgan makes a pilgrimage to Uzbekistan to carry out her husband's final wish—to be cremated—only to find herself entirely at sea in the strange new reality of the former Soviet republic, while in "The Exorcism," Tom ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $1.99   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   

Overview

Finely-honed portraits of hope and change, these two novellas are linked so skillfully that they achieve the intensity of a single novel in which some characters succeed and others fail on separate but equally compelling quests. In "The Fires," Gina Morgan makes a pilgrimage to Uzbekistan to carry out her husband's final wish—to be cremated—only to find herself entirely at sea in the strange new reality of the former Soviet republic, while in "The Exorcism," Tom Swanson begins to make sense of his life when he retrieves his angry daughter from her exclusive New England college after her expulsion for setting fire to a grand piano.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The two novellas that make up The Fires—one of sorrow and one of radiance—are filled with characters trying to maneuver that space between creation and destruction."  —Ana Menendez, author, Loving Che and In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd

"The Fires offers the twin bequeathing of profound sadness and enchantment. Mr. Cheuse is a writer of immense gifts."  —Howard Norman, author, The Bird Artist and Devotion

"One of the smartest, most trustworthy reviewers in America. Now he shows us where he gets his authority—a fiction writer of startling talent."  —John Gardner, author, Grendel and The Sunlight Dialogues

"[Cheuse] reminds us how close art and chaos really are."  —The New York Times Book Review

Publishers Weekly

In these two novellas, Cheuse (The Grandmothers' Club; Lost and Old Rivers; etc.) dissects the aftermath of two very different deaths: one, of an American businessman traveling in Russia; the other, a mother, jazz pianist and drug addict. In the first novella, "The Fires," a museum worker named Gina learns that her husband, Paul, died in a car accident while en route to Uzbekistan. Gina travels to Russia to ensure her husband gets cremated, per his wishes, and the foreign, surreal and familiar collide when Gina takes Paul's body to a Hindu ceremony to be cremated. "The Exorcism" applies much more overt dark humor to similar feelings in a substantially different character. An unnamed baby boomer discusses his sadness following the sudden death of his first wife, renowned jazz pianist Billie Benjamin, who fatally overdosed on heroin. Billie's death hits her daughter, Ceely, hard (she lashes out postcremation by torching a piano at her college), and the narrator's fond recollections of courting Billie are not received warmly by his new wife. Misery is in greater supply than comfort throughout, and Cheuse approaches his subjects from interesting angles, making these novellas of grief strangely compelling. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780977679911
  • Publisher: Santa Fe Writer's Project
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Cheuse is a longtime book commentator on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and the author of The Light Possessed and The Grandmothers' Club: A Novel. A teacher in the writing program at George Mason University and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, his short fiction has appeared in The Antioch Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review. He lives in Washington, DC.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)