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Fires Paperback – December 31, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Fires is a striking work reminiscent of James Salter (A Sport and a Pastime) in its combination of a cool unforgiving eye and a hot intensity of feeling and sensual immediacy. --John Crowley, author of Little, Big

Fires is fantastic. It s often dark, often startlingly beautiful, and it s crammed with a smoky, foreboding atmosphere that kept pulling me along, thrilled and a little scared, toward the end. --Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and the forthcoming We Disappear

Fires is a novel full of creeping menace and near-apocalyptic lunacy . . . the book is a blast to read. --Victor LaValle, author of The Ecstatic

About the Author

Nick Antosca lives, works, and writes on the east coast of the United States of America. He was born in the state of Louisiana
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 194 pages
  • Publisher: Impetus Press; 1st edition (March 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977669327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977669325
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,364,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian G. Dorward on February 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Nick Antosca has created a compelling, oftentimes brilliant look at humanity--its suffering, its cruelty, its love, and its healing. The other reviews point out that this is a "good debut," but that's dismissive; it's just plain good, and sometimes frighteningly so. That this is a first novel just inspires awe at a new writer's prowess.

The novel is short, yes, but it lingers long after it's been read and set aside. That kabuki mask on the cover keeps staring at you, reminding you of where you've been and what it meant.

Structurally, Fires unfolds like a boxing match against a seasoned pro who initially toys with you, throwing light jabs here and there to tease and play, but who gradually starts battering the bones with increasingly brutal and merciless blows until he finally has you against the ropes, and you're just hoping that some shred of humanity remains behind those lead-smelted fists. The images, the metaphors, and all the elements of the novel's language become increasingly feverish and passionate towards the end, as if exacting some revenge you never expected or thought you warranted--not at all unlike what happens in the actual plot.

And the plot, you will see, contains a startling relevance to recent events in the news, as if the author possessed amazing prescience to unleash his work on the public at exactly the right time. Questions that this country has been puzzling over for weeks are addressed with cogency in Fires.

This is the first, I hope, of many novels by this exciting new author. I'm eagerly awaiting the rest.
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Format: Paperback
FIRES is a novel by Nick Antosca about "three young people locked in a violent sex triangle..." well, sort of. It's also about "a boy trapped in a basement for eight years," but at the same time, it also has "deer running through a ghost neighborhood." Oh, and there are no quotation marks, for like, when the characters talk and stuff. But this isn't a problem. In as few words as possible, I can say that FIRES is actually a pretty difficult book to label and describe without revealing too much of the plot. I can also say that it is fairly easy to read because FIRES features some of the sharpest prose I have ever seen.

A brief summary of FIRES would sound horribly mundane and rather dull, especially when compared to, say, a thriller like CODEX or a Tom Clancy novel (yuck). Part of the charm lies in the fact that many people can/could probably relate to some of the events that take place in the book. It talks about: love, anger, sex, frustration, depression, violence, sickness, drinking/alcoholism and a few other things that make up significant portions of our everyday lives.

The author basically tells a story that sort of unravels in reverse, as the major characters are quickly revealed in just the first few pages. On page 2: "James Dearborn is someone I know from high school. And George Mursey is a big, affable guy from my home town, a neighbor from just across the street. A high school teacher, a football coach. Not a guy you'd expect to-- Wait. I don't want to think about it yet. I want to think about Ruth." And the next section of the book, of course, is titled "Ruth."

The book isn't just one long continuous account of Jon Danfield's life and it's not a stream-of-consciousness crap-fest either.
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Format: Paperback
Nick Antosca has a precociously forceful voice, a magnetic narrative sense, and a sharp eye for telling detail ("A little boy's cap lies flat in the sand, as if he's down there too"). This is a spark plug of a book; a thoroughly enjoyable novel from a talented young writer.
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Format: Paperback
Fires is a good debut novel...there is a lot going on as the book jacket says, "Deer running through a ghost neighborhood, A boy trapped in a basement for 8 years, three young people locked in a violent sex triangle." But I also liked the writing in this book: "A lean, sinewy guy wearing a faded baseball cap. He reaches out to grab my arm, scaring up an unexpected gust of moths in my belly." Or this one: "I love you," I whispered so quietly that, to my relief, she didn't seem to hear and never took her eyes from the mesmerizing crimson water. I looked away savoring the blissful warmth in my chest that came from saying those words and also glad that she had not heard and therefore could not later use it against me." I found the book easy and quick to read; if you're a book lover this one will go quick and we can only hope that this new writer may have just started to scratch the surface.
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By Michael on November 11, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's good. I think I was expecting more, but it's not a terrible novel or anything. If you find it used for cheap, it's certainly worth getting. The story is interesting and the writing is clear. The author has some good imagery. It's just, this story has been told before and there's nothing special about it being told here. It's really a supermarket crime story, and there's nothing inherently wrong with that, just that there are better ones out there.
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Jon, the protagonist of Fires, sets out alongside fellow Yalie and former high school classmate James Dearborn to investigate his hometown’s most sinister secret, and finds himself in a suburban wasteland. The journey through evacuated Bondurant–sprinklers left running, houses turned into ad-hoc camps for the two explorers, dogs abandoned, a childhood history about to be destroyed, and a fire “magnificent and awful, like a chasm…on the mountainside” looming in the near distance–provide apocalyptic imagery so effective you can almost taste the heat. Fires reminds me simultaneously of the video games Scratches and Majora’s Mask, hinting at the shadows beneath the mundane and making the reader know, feel, that time is running out, the world is eroding away.

The characterizations are compelling, from the dark undercurrent running through the romantic triangle to the homoerotic overtones between Jon and James. It is these elements that lead the reader down the trail to a climax, a final destination that you expect yet can’t predict. That said, the lushness and fullness of the setting and, the words carefully chosen to impart it, are the main reasons I recommend this book. Fires is a pleasant stroll through the unthinkable.
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