Saturday, July 5, 2014
THE ARSONIST by Sue Miller Audio Edition
For this listener hearing an author read his or her work is a very special treat. After all, who knows the material better, where emphases should be placed, and what tempos to be followed? With her reading of The Arsonist I’ve learned that Sue Miller is not only an exemplary writer but a gifted narrator as well.
Once again we’re reminded of Miller’s gift for creating nuanced yet fully fleshed characters when we meet Frankie Rowley, a woman in her 40s who has grown weary of working in East Africa. She returns home to stay with her parents, Sylvia and Alfie, in a farmhouse in Pomeroy, a small New Hampshire village where her family has summered for years.
As it happens Frankie’s arrival coincides with Pomeroy’s first house fire, which all believe to have been an accident. But perhaps not as a second fire occurs and then another - six all in all, each a summer resident’s home. Pomeroy has always been a quiet peaceful town but now neighbors are regarding one another with suspicion.
In the midst of this Frankie met Bud, the editor of the local paper. And, to the surprise of both they begin to fall in love. Close to home another drama is unfolding as Sylvia who has always prided herself on her competence and efficiency finds herself having to care for Alfie who is in the throes of early Alzheimer’s.
The Arsonist is an absorbing, honest story of family, love and community by one of our best novelists.
- Gail Cooke