Little Fires Everywhere: The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller
By Celeste Ng
A compulsive, brilliant novel about race, identity, family and secrets for fans of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith.Tweet
This is the story of small town, Shaker Heights, Cleveland. A town with a picture perfect image. The lawns are all beautifully manicured, the houses aesthetically pleasing, the citizens regimented in their conformity, a place and a role for everything.
The Richardson family conform, headed up by mother Elena Richardson, born and raised in Shaker Heights, now a local journalist with three children, and a lawyer husband.
Their life is an ordered one, lived by the rules of Shaker Heights and their parents but all that changes with the arrival of Mia and her daughter Pearl. Mia, an artist, and her daughter Pearl have lived a nomadic life, until Mia decides that Pearl needs friends and stability, and rents out the Richardson’s apartment.
As the families lives become intertwined, the order of their lives changes. There are no longer clear demarcations between what is right and wrong, and when family friends of the Richardson’s attempt to adopt an abandoned Chinese baby, a custody battle ensues, that divides the families and the community of Shaker Heights.
Add in a past that Mia would love to leave behind and hide from her daughter and Elena Richardson’s persistent pursuit to discover the truth, and you have one hell of a novel.
Ng’s handling of all the complexities of the story are brilliant, each revelation, each drama laid out before the reader. I liken it to a present with multiple layers of wrapping, the suspense and drama increasing as each layer is pulled away. You want to savour each layer, but cannot stop yourself reading more quickly, fully immersing yourself in the unfolding story.
Little Fires Everywhere has been huge in America and having read and loved Everything I Never Told You my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. From the opening page as the Richardson family home burns to the ground I was hooked and if life had not got in the way would have devoured in one sitting.
The writing is truly wonderful, the story utterly and totally compelling.
This is definitely my book of the year.