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The Arsonist (2014)

by Sue Miller

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4153361,152 (3.43)19
Fiction. Literature. Mystery. HTML:From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senatorâ??s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

/> Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come homeâ??home to the small New Hampshire village of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Then another house burns, and another, always the houses of the summer people. In a town where people have never bothered to lock their doors, social fault lines are opened, and neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion. Against this backdrop of menace and fear, Frankie begins a passionate, unexpected affair with the editor of the local paper, a romance that progresses with exquisite tenderness and heat toward its own remarkable risks and revelations.

Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Millerâ??a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, about how and where one ought to live, about what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimita… (more)
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» See also 19 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Interesting and different. ( )
  bcuperus | Dec 22, 2023 |
Good novel, nice characters, good pacing. But nothing super deep or dramatic or original. Glad to have read it, though. ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
descriptions of nothing ( )
  rosies | Nov 4, 2021 |
Reminded me of growing up in a small vacation town, sometimes hit a little close to home. ( )
  kudragrade | Jan 10, 2021 |
This was not my favourite Sue Miller but it kept me reading. I enjoyed the characters and especially liked Bud, he was a good guy. The themes this book covered were interesting: older parents, trying to figure your place in the world and the mystery identity of the arsonist. In the end nothing was really resolved which is almost painfully too like life. ( )
  FurbyKirby | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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For Bob

August 1941 - November 2013
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Later, Frankie would remember the car speeding past in the dark as she stood at the edge of the old dirt road.
Quotations
Her resistance seemed to her now the residue of some childish impulse that had stayed with her into adulthood, the impulse to keep her life from them, not to let them own it. —Frankie reflecting on her parents
It was paradise, she thought. The afternoon sun touched everything with gold, so that the grass, the fields, every tree, all seemed an invented green, not of this world naturally. Even the air seemed golden—the light itself was speckled and glittery where it was caught slantwise by dancing motes, by miniature insect life.
It could have been said, it probably was said among certain of her friends, that Frankie was leaving Africa because of a love affair—but that was only part of the truth.
She closed her eyes again and imagined the things he was looking at—the brilliant green of the Fenway grass, the muted powdery green of the walls, the figures in white and gray at their stations, almost motionless until the ball was hit and they responded, moving wildly in different directions but in balletic synchrony.
She had been surprised by her love for her grandchildren but, more than that, surprised by their love for her. She felt an almost absurd gratitude for it—for its sweet lack of complication, and for some sense of forgiveness she found in it, which she welcomed without really seeking to understand it.
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Fiction. Literature. Mystery. HTML:From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senatorâ??s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come homeâ??home to the small New Hampshire village of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Then another house burns, and another, always the houses of the summer people. In a town where people have never bothered to lock their doors, social fault lines are opened, and neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion. Against this backdrop of menace and fear, Frankie begins a passionate, unexpected affair with the editor of the local paper, a romance that progresses with exquisite tenderness and heat toward its own remarkable risks and revelations.

Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Millerâ??a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, about how and where one ought to live, about what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimita

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