Saturday, December 13, 2008

Who By Fire by Diana Spechler

Who By Fire by Diana Spechler


Harper Perennial 2008


An excellent story about a family who suffered an unresolved loss of a child some years before and how each copes with it over time. The son has joined a strict Orthodox group in Israel and his sister is sent to try and bring him home for a family funeral. Their mother is considering an intervention for him as she views his actions as the equivalent of belonging to a cult. It's well-written, with empathy and humour. Four and a half stars. Highly recommended.
I received my copy from Jennifer at Book Club Girl and participated in her interview with Diana on Blog Talk Radio on November 20. Jennifer is a good interviewer. I recommend listening to the broadcast after reading the novel as there is an inadvertent spoiler in it.

Diana herself is a gracious and easy going author. She recently wote a guest post here at Melody's Reading Corner that's quite humourous. She also thanked me just for mentioning her book as one I intended to read for Jewish Book Month. I wish every book I read was as good as Who By Fire. I can't recommend it enough.

Boston Bibliophile has also posted a very nice and more comprehensive review of the book here that may interest you.
Feel free to leave comments or links to comments or reviews about Who By Fire and I will add them to the body of this post.
What have you read that's really good in literary fiction?

11 comments:

  1. This is in my TBR pile and I hope to get to it soon.

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  2. Sandra, thanks for the tip about the spoiler! A really good book I read recently is The Piano Teacher. I got it from the author for review (ahem, just haven't got to the review part yet) but finished the book and it was wonderful. Complex layering of characterizations. Set in Hong Kong during and after WWII. She uses flash back mode with different pov. I hated to see it end. If you haven't read The Seamstress, that is another book you could just get lost in. Late 1920's and early 1930's Brazil about 2 sisters with totally different lives but they keep the connection between them in a unique way. Loved it!!

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  3. This sounds really good and I love the title. Thanks for the great synopsis.

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  4. This is also in my pile to read, I just got it last week and it seems people really are liking it. i can't wait to read it!

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  5. Kaye: I'm assuming you mean The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee and The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles. After a little research I have now reserved copies of both at the library. Thank you so much, they do sound good. And I will post comments on them after I've read them.
    * Note to all: I take all reading recommendation seriously-if they are good literary fiction, no other genres- as I am confined at home and cannot go to bookstores or libraries.

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  6. Yes, sorry I didn't put the authors in there. I truly hope you will enjoy them. The Seamstress is close to 700 pages and I did read one review saying it should have been cut down some. Imho - not a page, not a word needed to be cut out. Please let me know what you think after you read them.

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  7. thanks for linking to my review Sandra :-)

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  8. everyone is saying so many good things about this book :) I m glad u liked it too :)

    I hope i will be able to get it soon :)

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  9. I finished this book a little while ago. I really need to write up the review...maybe I'll get it done today! :-) I enjoyed it as well!

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  10. I am right now reading this book as well! I hope to enjoy this book :)

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