Sunday, March 22, 2009

Who by Fire

Who by Fire
by Diana Spechler
368 pages
Harper Perennial

When Ash and Bits where young children their sister Alena was kidnapped. Since then the kidnapping has torn their family apart and brought them to different methods of dealing with the grief, guilt and pain of loosing their sister, and daughter. Bits runs to men whenever she is sad, Ash scurries to religion, living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel in hopes that it will fill his gap and their mother's outlet is blame. She blames herself, and guilts her other children because they do not perform the way that she would like them to, they just can't fill that void that her youngest daughter, her favourite daughter left. For years, even decades the pain has formed wedges between them all, pushing and pulling them further and further apart. Will a sudden protectiveness arise within them when they feel someone on the outside is threatening their family?

Who by Fire is a tightly knit net of interactions and paths that cross and intersect and dodge each other. The book had its clenching grip on me the whole way through, I could relate to pieces of each of the characters. I do recommend it, I enjoyed it and it took me through the emotions a long with it. I felt the writing was precise and while not stunningly beautiful, it was practical and felt just right for the book. I was never distracted by cliche or bored by descriptions, so yes the writing was very good.

This is certainly a book for most people, but it would especially strike a chord for those who have suffered loss and learned, or have yet to learn how to cope with the loss endured. As dark as this book could have been, it wasn't, somehow through the whole reading I felt an underlying stream of hope and perseverance. Who by Fire is not flavoured by sad and depressed draining feelings, but of a changing life and the acts that futures are made of. Read it and you'll be glad that you did.

Here is a brief interview with the author:


bermudaonion said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

Sandra said...

Nice review. I enjoyed this book very much too. I also listened to an interview with the author on Blog Talk Radio with Jennifer from Book Club Girl. Spechler is an easy-going and intelligent writer. I can't wait for her next work to come out.

Ti said...

I enjoyed this one when I read it. Diana wrote a guest post for me and she is really nice to work with.

Ali said...

I've read a couple of reviews of this one but for some reason yours is the first that made it sound like my kind of book. Thanks!

Stephanie said...

I read this book back in January. I enjoyed it alot.

Nice review!

Goms said...

I read the review first by Ramya and now your review has definitely confirmed that it should be on my TBR list. My only trepidation was that it might be depressing, glad to know its not!

Ramya said...

I read this a while ago for the Jewish Literature Challenge and really liked it as well!:) The funny thing is that I didn't like either Ash or Bits.. but I think their unique characters make the book more special!