Buy Used
£2.80
FREE Delivery on orders over £10.
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Although new and unused, book cover may have slight shelf wear.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Great Fire (Today Show Book Club #16) Hardcover – Oct 2003


See all 19 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover, Oct 2003
£0.10
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374278210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374278212
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 16.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,221,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Review

Shirley Hazzard. For me, the greatest living writer on goodness and love . . . THE GREAT FIRE so overwhelmed me that I came close to being unable to read the last three pages. If the last sentence doesn't make you gasp and weep, you are not fully conscious . . . Shirley Hazzard, the quiet, playful, lovestruck artist of love, goodness and death in the 20th century. ' Bryan Appleyard ('I wish there were a set of words like 'brilliant')

and 'dazzling (that we saved for only the rarest occasions, so that when I tell you THE GREAT FIRE is brilliant and dazzling you would know it is the absolute truth. This is a book that is worth a twenty-year wait.')

Ann Patchett, author of BEL CANTO ('Shirley Hazzard has written an hypnotic novel that unfolds like a dream: Japan, Southeast Asia, the end of one war and the beginning of another, the colonial order gone, and at the center of it all, a love story.')

Joan Didion ('Shirley Hazzard is, purely and simply, one of the greatest writers working in English today. Which makes me more than grateful to have this long-hoped for new novel.') --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A great writer's sweeping story of men and women struggling to reclaim their lives in the aftermath of world conflict. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 11 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
The Great Fire was one of the less-talked about of the Orange Prize shortlist, which seems a little unfair.
Shirley Hazzard is one of those incredible novelists who has produced a minute body of work over a forty year period, but has to be one of the most significant writers alive. The Great Fire is an odd love story, one which handled differently could be an inappropriate love story: that of a 33 year old man for a 17 year old girl. But Hazzard manages to make it plausible, painful and beautiful and most of all understandable. In the convulsions of the immediate post war world her characters are all beached to some degree by the awfulness of it. Others have written of this kind of bitter enduring after trauma, loss, agony, but few so powerfully or precisely. I have to say I was surprised that she has pulled off a happy ending in this lyrically sad world - though not for all of her characters.
Of the many things that impress about Hazzard it is her understatedness that has the greatest impact. I have always admired her work and twenty-three years is a long wait between novels, but I can only assume that those twenty-three years have been spent ensuring that not one single word is wasted or misused. It is pin-point perfect throughout. The endorsements on the book's back cover are from great writers, writers I read and admire, but they are all pale in comparison to Shirley Hazzard's massive talent. Let it inspire you to find her other books as well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback
I had read all the fantastic reviews and plaudits this book gained. I have had people I trust recommend the book to me, and consequently I was as keen as mustard to give it a go. Unfortunately it just did not work for me. I genuinely cannot see what all the fuss is about and am baffled as to why this book took ten years to write.

It is not a bad book for all that. The story is coherent. It has engaging themes that are well defined and subtly threaded through the story. It is full of atmosphere and the characters seem real and human rather than vehicles by which to get a message across. All the ingredients are there, but for me they just didn't gel together to make a coherent, compelling whole.

I found the pace too ponderous and the style too disconnected from the subject matter. It was as if I were reading the story from a great distance, or separated from it by a pane of glass. The style I think is my main issue here. It is a curious amalgam where sometimes it is very hard to fathom which character is which, and I found myself having to go through and reread certain pages just to make sure I had understood things properly.

I think this is a marmite book. You're either going to absolutely love her style or hate it, and I'm afraid I don't fall into the love camp at all.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Vermes on 18 Dec 2006
Format: Paperback
Shirley Hazzard is a writer's writer; often her prose is designed to appeal only to those literati that understand her references. Not so with the Great Fire. Against the backdrop of the unspeakable pain of Hiroshima, she weaves a love story full of subtle messages about morality and behaviour. The characters aren't easy to relate to your own experience, but the music of the words is stronger in this book than any of her other works. If you want an easy to read adventure story, forget it. If you're prepared to take it slowly, savouring the words, this book will repay the effort.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amy J. on 25 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have said, it is the writing style that is a problem here. The narrative is engaging and well-crafted; the love story is likeable, as are the characters. I can't quite decide about the distinctive style, though. It certainly took me a little while to 'get into' the book, and there were passages throughout where the style seemed to jar, taking me back from the action unpleasantly. There's something very old-fashioned, almost preachy, about it. And your involvement as a reader becomes disjointed, I think. But I did enjoy the book, especially the sense of place and time, which are nicely drawn.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lucy Jane Moore on 19 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
As I began this novel my instincts were that I struggle to "gel" with the narrative and engage with the story. But i persisted... My instinct was right. I failed to engage with the story at any level and I simply didn't care about what happened to the characters. I didn't dislike them, I didn't dislike the story, I just found it exceptionally uninspiring and ever so slightly dull. I haven't been put off reading other Hazzard novels. However, I found this particular novel a very unsatisfying read
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Booksthatmatter on 13 Jan 2004
Format: Hardcover
Shirley Hazzard is one of those incredible novelists who has produced a minute body of work over a forty year period, but has to be one of the most significant writers alive. The Great Fire is an odd love story, one which handled differently could be an inappropriate love story: that of a 33 year old man for a 17 year old girl. But Hazzard manages to make it plausible, painful and beautiful and most of all understandable. In the convulsions of the immediate post war world her characters are all beached to some degree by the awfulness of it. Others have written of this kind of bitter enduring after trauma, loss, agony, but few so powerfully or precisely. I have to say I was surprised that she has pulled off a happy ending in this lyrically sad world - though not for all of her characters.
Of the many things that impress about Hazzard it is her understatedness that has the greatest impact. I have always admired her work and twenty-three years is a long wait between novels, but I can only assume that those twenty-three years have been spent ensuring that not one single word is wasted or misused. It is pin-point perfect throughout. The endorsements on the book's back cover are from great writers, writers I read and admire, but they are all pale in comparison to Shirley Hazzard's massive talent. Let it inspire you to find her other books as well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Look for similar items by category


Feedback