The Arsonist

The Arsonist

The Arsonist From the best selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator s Wife a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people

  • Title: The Arsonist
  • Author: Sue Miller
  • ISBN: 9780307594792
  • Page: 453
  • Format: Hardcover
  • From the best selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home home to the small New HamFrom the best selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground Is it an accident, or arson Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father s slow failing and her mother s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors and Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.

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      Published :2019-07-21T11:52:11+00:00

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    1.5 soporific starsSue Miller'sThe Arsonist, perhaps a little surprisingly, I found to be a spectacularly dull drama that just couldn't measure up to the strength of the title, cover art, or premise. The idea enticed me: An American woman Frankie Rowley, on break from her job of eradicating hunger in Africa in the 90's, comes back to her family's summer house in Pomeroy, New Hampshire, a town that, immediately upon Frankie's arrival, is beset with the acts of a serial arsonist, preying upon summ [...]

    Once I started, I had to finish, breaking one of my cardinal rules: life is too short to stay with books that are not your cup of tea. In order to be fair, since I am required to review this book, I feel I have to finish it. But what a slog. Maybe I've read too many of this type of novel, but I really expected more from Sue Miller who is a very accomplished author. But she has a maybe 100 page book here, plot-wise. And it is 300+ pages. In an interview, Tony Hillerman once pointed out that his b [...]

    This is how bad this book was for me. I had been reading it for the last two weeks during our 15 minute independent reading sessions in class. But imagine when I picked it up this morning and realized I was on chapter 13 and had little to no recollection of what actually transpired. What was even more amazing is that this book was brought in by a co-worker who read it before giving to me and she cannot remember what happens. Now that is an advertisment of caution!

    Boy, I wanted to like this book. But I am abandoning it after 131 pages. 131 slow, tedious, boring pages. It's not that it's badly written, or that the premise isn't compelling's just that the author seems to be determined to document each and every movement or action performed by the protagonist. Here's an example about a trip to the market: "The only tomatoes they had were hothouse, hard as apples, so Frankie chose cherry tomatoes. She put garlic into her basket, too, and lettuce, and onions, [...]

    A small town in New England, Frankie has returned after many years working in Africa, now in her forties she is looking for a sense of permanence. Her parents have retired and moved into the small town that they had previously only inhabited in summer. Many things are different, fires are being set that seem to be targeting only the homes of the summer people. Her parents are dealing with a big problem that may change the course of their lives. As the summer heats up so do the tensions in her fa [...]

    Usually I'm not in the demographic to plaster a bevy of "Look at me, Mommy, I'm funny!" GIFs onto my book reviews, but while reading Sue Miller's pedestrian novel, I felt like The Arsonist was very worthy of taking such obnoxious liberties. So I'm going to do it here, for the first time ever on —wow, it's hitting me now, my virginal nature to flashy showmanship is about to be vanquished!As I began to read the opening areas of this tedious story, one specific scene from a much better creative w [...]

    Sue Miller’s thoughtful, intense novels have always demonstrated that domestic fiction needn’t be domesticated. And lately, she’s shown that it needn’t be apolitical either. In “The Senator’s Wife” (2008), she explored the costs of being married to a philandering public servant. Her last book, “The Lake Shore Limited,” offered a psychologically profound response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.Her new novel, “The Arsonist,” takes place far removed from national news or wor [...]

    Although this story didn't end in just the way I wanted it to, it ended in a way that felt true. In fact, the entire book felt true. Life is messy, with emotional entanglements, disappointments, and joy. Sue Miller has a way of writing her characters so that all the messiness and glory of being human shines through. In addition to helping us understand people, The Arsonist also has enough plot to keep pages turning--a bit of mystery, suspense, and romance all rolled into one thoughtful storyline [...]

    I won a free advanced copy of this book in a GoodReads sweepstakes, as part of the pre-publication publicity effort.This book is very competently written and the reasons that it failed for me are particular to my own preferences. If this is a genre that one likes, I would not hesitate to recommend it as another decent example of the category.However, I abandoned this book at the end of chapter 8, around page 120 of 300ish.My basic problem with the book is that it is yet another story that I've a [...]

    This is an uncomplicated novel, but one that felt realistic and true to life. The novel follows the lives during one summer of various members of the community in a small town in New Hampshire. Above all the novel's themes are finding a sense of identity, a purpose in life and discovering the meaning of "home". A few of the characters are unhappy, or at least unsure, about the paths their lives are taking. One of these characters includes Frankie, a forty-something year old, who has just returne [...]

    I hate to be a curmudgeon, but boy, was this book a disappointment. The characters were shallow and some seemed totally pointless. The plot was disjointed with themes that had nothing to do with the arson investigation I thought that the book was supposed to be about. I muddled through because the reader on the audio was excellent; had it been a print book, I would have closed it after the first couple of chapters. There was unnecessary foul language and the crude descriptions of sex scenes seem [...]

    The main character was Frankie, but it was her mother, Sylvia, whose journey was more compelling to me. Sylvia's doubts about her competence as a mother, as a wife, as a woman who had sublimated her personal drives for those of her family, primarily her self-involved husband, was perceptive and moving. The 'arsons' of the title were a vehicle for propelling a story, and for introducing relateable and quite interesting characters. The relationships had us meeting Alfie, the retired academic husba [...]

    Ron Charles of The Washington Post says this story was “told with stark honesty.” True. William Pritchard of the Chicago Tribune says “… expert at making narrative sense out of human relationships.” True. I disagree, however, with all other back-cover endorsements of Sue Miller’s The Arsonist.The Arsonist has a compelling plot on four levels: (1) Who is setting all those houses on fire, and why? (2) What will Frankie decide to do with her life, and what will happen between her and Bu [...]

    The title of this one is a bit misleading. There is a subplot of an arsonist terrorizing a small town (which doesn't have a real resolution), and that's the backdrop. However, the main story is really about 43 year old Frankie coming back from her work in Africa and figuring out what she wants to do with her life (local newspaper owner Bud becomes her love interest) as well as her mother Sylvia's struggles with her ailing husband. And in that paragraph I have literally summarized the whole book. [...]

    Author Sue Miller's latest novel takes place in the New Hampshire village of Pomeroy. Frankie Rowley, a middle aged woman, had been working in East Africa as a relief worker for fifteen tears. Frankie, feeling burned out perhaps by the intensity of the needs of the people she encountered and the seeming fruitlessness of her efforts or perhaps by a string of disastrous, meaningless love affairs returns to her parents' home in Pomeroy. Frankie's parents , Sylvia and Alfie, have recently retired fr [...]

    Wonderful exposition, but…I opened this novel to be instantly reminded how good a writer Sue Miller is. She is a master of exposition. With consummate ease, she drew me smoothly into the life of her protagonist, Frankie Rowley. Forty-three, and having spent most of her adult like as an aid worker in East Africa, Frankie comes back to a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, where her parents live. As Miller works without complication or rush, we learn about Frankie, we learn about [...]

    The term “Domestic Fiction” is a bit of a loaded term these days, often in a derogatory sense. When applied to The Arsonist I mean the definition in its truest sense: “novels that are usually home-centric and focused on the relationships within a (functional or dysfunctional) family during a single generation.” The term can be applied to Sue Miller’s novel yet I found (and have found previously) something more - a sense of the rhythm of a character’s life.It is a hard thing to actual [...]

    It's hard, although not impossible, for me to like a book when I don't particularly like any of the characters. I think the only character I really liked was Pete, a retired newspaper publisher, and a minor character. Normally I like Sue Miller's books and get on the library's waiting list as soon as the book is published. I almost gave up on this one because it just didn't hold my interest until the last quarter of the book. That's a long time to read without being engaged. And I do wish that a [...]

    It seems to me that if you title a book The Arsonist, it should have something to do with, well, an arsonist. Unfortunately this book does not. It is actually a romance novel posing as what is described on the back cover of the edition I read as "A gripping new novel . . . about the tensions that are ignited between summer people and locals when a wave of fires spreads through a small New England town." In reality, the part of the book dealing with arson is merely a tiny subplot that acts as a b [...]

    It has been a while since I read Sue Miller. And in the meantime I have read sooo many mysteries/crime fiction. Maybe that's why this book seemed to fade away rather than end. Sylvia & Alfie rang truealing with the onset of dementia and the realization that love had not lasted. But Frankie's unwillingness to commit didn't make emotional sense. And the ending made her choices even more inexplicable. I just came away disappointed and uncertain what I was supposed to take away from the book.

    Boy the title of this book sure was misleading. Granted there were fires set and the community put on alert for an arsonist but that's about it. The story was more about restless Frankie searching for herself and her place in the community and in her family. The passion between Frankie and the local newspaper writer was enticing and real as was her father's illness re Alzheimer's. The ending left me in a confused state so minus 1/2 star. I wanted answers!

    The idea of home, the undeniable feeling of belonging and being truly comfortable, is a common theme in novels. In these novels, as in life, home is usually linked to family or a group of individuals, often people who have shared a common history and therefore memories…and this is usually where things get mucky. The accomplished author Sue Miller explores these themes in her latest novel, The Arsonist. After working in Africa for fifteen years Frankie Rowley returns to the summer home her pare [...]

    Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home-home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father's slow failing and her mother's desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer [...]

    I found the ending of this one by Sue Miller pretty unsatisfying (and I can't say why or I would ruin it for other readers), but other parts of it were reliably Sue Milleresque enough to make me happy. I would probably do 3.5 stars if that were an option. One thing I love about her is that she looks at the unpleasant aspects of our relationships and feelings that don't often find expression in domestic fiction about women: wives who stopped loving their husbands but stay married to them anyway; [...]

    This book is tedious. I'm reading it aloud, which gives me a distinct perspective, one from which it seems the book should be 1/3 the length that it is. The description are too long and pointless, the conversations meandering, the plot points take too many pages to get to. A small amount of action with long stretches of nothing in betweena right war of a novel.By page 200, my husband (to whom I am reading this aloud) declares that it is the most boring book ever. And this, when I'd already been [...]

    A love story needs attractive lovers, because otherwise it might as well be nonfiction, or "Shrek". In this book, I tried to imagine Franchesca Rowley as some unique kind of beauty but the author kept adding details to destroy my image. She has milk white skin covered with freckles and red hair that is always an uncontrollable mass------okay, maybe she could be a different kind of beauty. But wait, Bud falls in love with the gap between her two front teeth and describes her as having a wide "bot [...]

    This kind of book is torture, because the writings good , and you find yourself connecting and not looking at the page numberd then you are again. And you don't know when the magic will return.When this book was great it was about people looking harder at themselves because of the danger in their midst.

    just felt that miller had a good idea for a novel but sadly failed to deliver as started well and faded away as the book went along and had so much potential when looking at relationships and lost of memory or belonging to somewhere

    I was expecting a book about an arsonist (given the title I think that was a good assumption). This was more of a romance than anything else. It was beautifully written, but it was not compelling. There is so much ambiguity in the resolution that it was less than satisfying.

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