This intimate, intensely seen novel was short-listed for the 1996 Booker Prize. Shena Mackay's six previous novels have won her critical admiration and a popular audience in England, but her work has not received due recognition in the United States yet. The Orchard on Fire
is a concise, domestic novel set in the village of Stonebridge, where the parents of April Harlency have come in 1953 to run the local teashop. April's private reveries and her entanglement with the grim family life of her best friend, Ruby Richards, fill up a vivid and dramatic year in the wonderfully distinctive life of Stonebridge.
A harvest festival of sensuous detail, intimate, rich... Compulsively readable (Daily Telegraph
Mackay moved this reader to tears, not from grief, but from joy. Now there's a skill (Fay Weldon Mail on Sunday
An extremely beautiful and funny novel... The Orchard on Fire
is probably Mackay's most perfect book, produced with a technical adroitness and shapeliness which one can only envy (Philip Hensher Guardian
Shena Mackay is a writer in prime: at the height of her powers... Her prose is flawlessly seductive and comic, confidently witty and sensual (Julie Myerson Independent on Sunday
Wholly delightful... Shena Mackay is an assured artist (A. N. Wilson Evening Standard