Start Reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Start Reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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IMG_6610-min

There’s a hypnotic energy to Celeste Ng’s writing that picks you up on the first page and carries you at a sprint to the end. Her micro-universe is drenched with conflict and drama, and each character is memorable, not in the traditional sense of being outlandish, provocative, and “unforgettable” in their loudness. But memorable in their believability, their realness and relatability.

Oh, and talk about killer opening lines: ‘Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.’

The Richardsons are perplexed by their daughter’s sudden psychotic decision to destroy the family home, and so the story begins with a rush to put out the flames and then an equally panicked search for Izzy, the arsonist.

Celeste Ng headshot - photo credit Kevin Day PhotographyEnter Mia and Pearl, single mother and only daughter duo, who not that long ago moved into a little rental home on Winslow Road. When they first arrived, nobody thought much of them. But Shaker Heights isn’t your usual neighbourhood. There are rules. Plenty and plenty of rules. Pearl has an instant connection with young Moody Richardson. For the first time in her life she feels it’s safe to do so: her mother, Mia, is a travelling artist, prone to uprooting their lives and disappearing to a new town whenever the creative urge hits her. This time, it’s different: Mia has sworn they’re staying in Shaker Heights for good.

For a fleeting moment Pearl glimpses a normal fifteen-year-old adolescence: she finds acceptance with Lexie, Moody, and Trip. Drinking at underage parties, watching movies together, complaining about teachers at school – for Pearl, it’s a dream.

And it doesn’t take long for head matriarch Elena Richardson to express some interest in Mia, offering her a job cleaning her house to help pay the rent (since her photography – like most art – doesn’t really pay the bills).

Izzy, the outcast of the Richardson family, is taken under Mia’s wing and begins to learn the art of photography. It’s as though they’ve swapped: Pearl spends all her time with the Richardsons; and Izzy with Mia, but although the families entwine and the peaceful suburban life starts seeming idyllic, it all crumbles when Pearl finds a photo of Mia in the local art gallery, cradling a baby that isn’t her. After confronting Mia, who denies all knowledge of the photo, everybody realises that Mia is harbouring mysterious secrets from the past.

But the little fires begin to spread everywhere when an old family friend of the Richardsons adopt a baby left at the local Fire Station in a moment of motherly psychosis. Mia happens to know who the mother is, and how much she wants her baby back. What unfolds is a custody battle like no other, with Elena and Mia on opposite sides.

As a writer, Celeste’s domestic neighbourhood word is attuned with sparkling detail, and the tensions that drive Little Fires Everywhere are poetic, well-observed, and exciting. It’s receiving rave reviews from high places, like this from Jodi Picoult: ‘I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting’ – Jodi Picoult. And author of The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins called it ‘witty, wise, and tender. It’s a marvel.’ We agree with her.

Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was Amazon.com’s Best Book of 2014, and won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the American Library Association’s Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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    Publisher details

    Little Fires Everywhere
    Author
    Celeste Ng
    Publisher
    Hachette
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    07 September, 2017

    Synopsis

    'I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting' Jodi PicoultThe brilliant new novel by the author of the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Never Told You.Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother- who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family - and Mia's.Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.About the AuthorCeleste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association's Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    Celeste Ng
    About the author

    Celeste Ng

    Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She attended Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, won the Hopwood Award, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the American Library Association's Alex Award. She is a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, and she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Books by Celeste Ng

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