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Those Who Favor Fire: A Novel Hardcover – January 26, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In picturesque, present-day Pennsylvania, the former coal-mining town of Belle Haven harbors a hidden danger: lethal fires, ignited by a burning dump, simmer below ground. Despite this hazard, residents refuse to abandon their homes, relying instead on pet canaries to detect the noxious fumes that signal impending eruptions. Enter an unpopular government agent named Mendelson, who offers to buy them out. The protagonists are young lovers: bright, resourceful Rachel Hearn, whose parents' sudden death prompts her return home from college, and Joe, a mysterious drifter who seeks solace among the town's hapless inhabitants. He's really Christopher "Kit" Barrows, Yale dropout and reluctant heir, fleeing a nasty, duplicitous father who has been abusing Kit's twin sister since she was a preadolescent. As the peril escalates?steam hisses through potholes; wells heat to boiling; animals, houses and people are sucked into an underground inferno?the stubborn townspeople, led by Rachel, still deny that Belle Haven is beyond salvation. Will Rachel relent and move to safety in the nearby community that Joe has built for her and the others? Suspense mounts as the story moves to its dramatic conclusion. First-time novelist Wolk has conceived an engrossing plot and peopled it with appealing characters. In this cautionary tale, folk elements and environmental caveats combine with a subtle yet unrelenting sense of horror to produce a fiction reminiscent of the best of Shirley Jackson. (Feb.) FYI: Wolk, formerly senior editor for Nelson Canada, was a contributing editor for Owl, an award-winning children's magazine.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Outwardly the very model of small-town America, Belle Haven is literally sitting on top of ruin. For more than ten years a fire has raged underground throughout the area, defeating all attempts to seal it off. Burning its way through old mine shafts, manifesting itself in ominous, sometimes lethal ways, it moves inexorably closer to the population of Belle Haven. Yet the independent, eccentric residents resist leaving, led by the late-blooming young rebel, Rachel, who is back in her hometown following the sudden deaths of her parents. A voice of reason is Joe, a mysterious twentysomething newcomer on the run from a terrible past, who has fallen in love with both Belle Haven and Rachel. Though some episodic stretches and windy exposition slow the momentum, the tensions of romance, looming disaster, and rocky relationships among a raft of believable characters keep the often preposterous but entertaining plot moving along to a satisfying conclusion. This first novel is a good choice for summer beach reading and appropriate for most popular collections.?Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Alexandria, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
18 customer ratings
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