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Little Fires Everywhere
Cover of Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere
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A Reese Witherspoon Book Club PickThe runaway New York Times bestseller!Named a Best Book of the Year by: People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ,...
A Reese Witherspoon Book Club PickThe runaway New York Times bestseller!Named a Best Book of the Year by: People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ,...
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Description-

  • A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
    The runaway New York Times bestseller!
    Named a Best Book of the Year by:
    People, The Washington Post, Bustle, Esquire, Southern Living, The Daily Beast, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, Goodreads, Library Reads, Book of the Month, Paste, Kirkus Reviews, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and many more!

    "I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting." –Jodi Picoult
    "To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." - Reese Witherspoon
    "I am loving Little Fires Everywhere. Maybe my favorite novel I've read this year."—John Green
    "Witty, wise, and tender. It's a marvel." – Paula Hawkins

    From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.
    In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors 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 principle is playing by the rules.
    Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
    When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
    Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
    Perfect for book clubs! Visit celesteng.com for discussion guides and more.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    1

    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. All spring the gossip had been about little Mirabelle McCullough—or, depending which side you were on, May Ling Chow—and now, at last, there was something new and sensational to discuss. A little after noon on that Saturday in May, the shoppers pushing their grocery carts in Heinen's heard the fire engines wail to life and careen away, toward the duck pond. By a quarter after twelve there were four of them parked in a haphazard red line along Parkland Drive, where all six bedrooms of the Richardson house were ablaze, and everyone within a half mile could see the smoke rising over the trees like a dense black thundercloud. Later people would say that the signs had been there all along: that Izzy was a little lunatic, that there had always been something off about the Richardson family, that as soon as they heard the sirens that morning they knew something terrible had happened. By then, of course, Izzy would be long gone, leaving no one to defend her, and people could—and did—say whatever they liked. At the moment the fire trucks arrived, though, and for quite a while afterward, no one knew what was happening. Neighbors clustered as close to the makeshift barrier—a police cruiser, parked crosswise a few hundred yards away—as they could and watched the firefighters unreel their hoses with the grim faces of men who recognized a hopeless cause. Across the street, the geese at the pond ducked their heads underwater for weeds, wholly unruffled by the commotion.

    Mrs. Richardson stood on the tree lawn, clutching the neck of her pale blue robe closed. Although it was already afternoon, she had still been asleep when the smoke detectors had sounded. She had gone to bed late, and had slept in on purpose, telling herself she deserved it after a rather difficult day. The night before, she had watched from an upstairs window as a car had finally pulled up in front of the house. The driveway was long and circular, a deep horseshoe arc bending from the curb to the front door and back—so the street was a good hundred feet away, too far for her to see clearly, and even in May, at eight o'clock it was almost dark, besides. But she had recognized the small tan Volkswagen of her tenant, Mia, its headlights shining. The passenger door opened and a slender figure emerged, leaving the door ajar: Mia's teenage daughter, Pearl. The dome light lit the inside of the car like a shadow box, but the car was packed with bags nearly to the ceiling and Mrs. Richardson could only just make out the faint silhouette of Mia's head, the messy topknot perched at the crown of her head. Pearl bent over the mailbox, and Mrs. Richardson imagined the faint squeak as the mailbox door opened, then shut. Then Pearl hopped back into the car and closed the door. The brake lights flared red, then winked out, and the car puttered off into the growing night. With a sense of relief, Mrs. Richardson had gone down to the mailbox and found a set of keys on a plain ring, with no note. She had planned to go over in the morning and check the rental house on Winslow Road, even though she already knew that they would be gone.

    It was because of this that she had allowed herself to sleep in, and now

    it was half past twelve and she was standing on the tree lawn in her robe and a pair of her son Trip's tennis shoes, watching their house burn to the ground. When she had awoken to the shrill scream of the smoke detector, she ran from room to room looking for him, for Lexie, for...

About the Author-

  • Celeste Ng grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from Harvard University and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan. Her debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and the ALA's Alex Award. Little Fires Everywhere, Ng's second novel, was a New York Times bestseller, winner of the Ohioana Book Award, and named a best book of the year by over twenty-five publications. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages and she was the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 17, 2017
    This novel from Ng (Everything I Never Told You) is both an intricate and captivating portrait of an eerily perfect suburban town with its dark undertones not-quite-hidden from view and a powerful and suspenseful novel about motherhood. When the eccentric and itinerant artist Mia Warren and her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move into a rental house in Shaker Heights, Ohio, one summer, neither they nor their more conventional, affluent landlords, the Richardsons, have any reason to anticipate how dangerously enmeshed the two families will become. Before long, Pearl, enthralled by her first shot at a “normal” life, is spending every day with three of the four Richardson children, Lexie, Moody, and Trip, finding a best friend, a suitor, and a lover in turn. Meanwhile, Isabelle, the youngest Richardson teenager, starts heading over to see Mia, offering to work as her assistant but really looking for an escape. As both Mrs. Richardson and Mia Warren overstep their boundaries, Ng explores the complexities of adoption, surrogacy, abortion, privacy, and class, questioning all the while who earns, who claims, and who loses the right to be called a mother. This is an impressive accomplishment. Agent: Julie Barer, the Book Group.

  • AudioFile Magazine As three of the teenaged Richardson children watch their suburban Ohio home being engulfed in flames, they must consider whether the absence of their rebellious sister is significant. With a youthful voice, Jennifer Lim depicts Izzie's angst and awakening joy in the months preceding the fire, when she discovers friendship with newcomer Pearl and her artistic single mother. Lim voices the contrasting mothers skillfully: We hear the carefully contained control-freak shrewishness of Izzie's mom in contrast with the introspective playfulness of Pearl's mother. Lim employs a soft Asian accent for the heartbroken young Chinese mother who regrets having given up her baby for adoption. The narrative's foreshadowing does not reveal all the mysteries, and Lim lends a shade of innocence that stays true to the secrets. N.M.C. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 30, 2017
    Set in the late 1990s in the town of Shaker Heights, Ohio, the audio edition of Ng’s novel begins with a fire in the home of the Richardsons, an affluent, apparently happy family. What follows are flashbacks to the moments of tension—the metaphorical “little fires” of the title that lead a member of the family to set the blaze. The drama begins with the arrival of unconventional visual artist and single mother Mia Warren, who rents the Richardsons’ guest house with her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl. The Richardson kids quickly embrace Pearl, while their journalist mother, Elena, offers Mia the opportunity to do light housework to help pay the bills. But when Mia starts to mentor one of her daughters, Elena is miffed, and her annoyance goes nuclear after Mia interferes in the adoption process of one of the Richardsons’ closest friends, by encouraging the birth mother, a Chinese immigrant, to rethink her plans. Actress Lim gives a dramatic, vivacious performance and catches every nuance of its probe of mother love and the widening chasm between the privileged and the working class. Lim is particularly effective in her presentation of Elena as both villain and victim and of Mia as a seemingly wise free spirit who’s not exactly mother of the year. A Penguin Press hardcover.

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