[Reading] ➲ How Fires End ➺ Marco Rafalà – Truongnguyenwedding.com



10 thoughts on “How Fires End

  1. says:

    What happens when faith blinds us to our own humanity How Fires End is part war story and aftermath, part mythology, a lamentation shot through with melancholy and pathos Rafal writes of the fathers and sons and daughters of Mellili, Sicily with such care and tenderness that to read it was like listening to the breathing out and collapse of an accordion history folding over onto itself, sighing out a mournful story on notes of stone and stars We yearn with David, grieve with Salvatore, shoulder the yoke of history with Vincenzo, console and heal with Nella, as each tells a story of wars waged, battles lost, and secrets kept.


  2. says:

    I ended up with an ARC of this book, somewhat at random, not through a giveaway Meaning I am under no obligation to write a review I m just writing a review because I really enjoyed it How Fires End is about how a single tragedy can haunt multiple generations of a family, leaving its mark across two continents and many lives If there s a lesson and I m not sure I d call it a lesson in the morality tale kind of sense it s that keeping the secrets of the past from loved ones even when done out of protection with the best intentions allows guilt and revenge to resurface over and over The family curse only continues because of everyone s attempts to deny their history The book uses the Sicilian experience and the Sicilian American immigrant experience to layer each moment with faith, culture, and food, giving the entire story a deeper texture The way religious belief influences and colors the story is really wonderful It s spinning around the specific religious myths and customs of a town handed down through the years, a very personal, familial, and community connection to religion The community stories and legends are always close to the surface of life, making a history of tragedy and a presumed curse harder to escape While the story of this family is book ended by twin tragedies, the book itself doesn t sink into melodrama or maudlin prose I tend to be adverse to tragedy porn, but despite the way this story revolves around personal loss, it s much broader and bigger than that I think the best parts of the novel are set during WWII and the post war years, where the writing manages to merge lyricism and story in a straightforward manner I struggled a bit with the opening section, partially because the story of the awkward, yearning youth struggling with his coming of age is something I ve read many times before Though even in those scenes, there s a tension of secrets to be revealed and historical significance that provide added weight And then, in the second part, the history of the family comes out and the prose evolves into something both original and expertly crafted I understand why the first section is so necessary The author starts with the conclusion of the multi generational tragedy in order to build depth into the backstory The whole book is like that, layer upon layer And then the second two thirds of the book are just amazing, and earn the reader s prolonged attention.


  3. says:

    This compelling and beautifully written book is told in three sections, each presenting a slice of history as seen through the eyes of three Sicilian American men whose stories tragically intersect The first part is a coming of age story set in the 1980s and centering David, a young man trying to grapple with a local bully who seems to hold a personal grudge against David s family The second part switches to Sicily, where we meet David s father, Salvatore, growing up in Sicily amid war and tragedy, dogged by a family curse that follows him to the shores of the New World, and the final section is told through the lens of Salvatore s complicated savior, Vincenzo I loved the way each of the sections contained layers that built on and helped create a deeper understanding of the others The scenes in Sicily are so rich in atmosphere and detail it s clear that Rafal has a strong and indelible connection to this land and culture, and he paints such a vivid picture of this world, even in the details that are carried back to the US the way a father peels blistered peppers the affectionate colloquialisms the family uses like a secret language The novel reminded me at times of Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex one of my favorite books in its depiction of family, identity, cultural displacement, dark secrets, the loss of faith, and the way small decisions can have consequences that ripple down through generations Highly recommended.


  4. says:

    This book is told from the perspective of 3 characters David ,the son of a rough Italian immigrant father who is trying to naviagte his way through teenage life and violent bullying in the early 80 s David s father, Salvatore s backstory during the second world war is uncovered in the second section of the book and finally Vincenzo, a close family friend almost a second father to both men who is rumoured to have been a Fascist collaborator during the war The older men s stories deal with the war in their small village in Italy which seems to have been recreated in New York as the disapora cleave together and looks at the impact of the fires that men create on the next generation.I thihk if I hadn t read this book as an ARC I would have given up during the first section I just wasn t that interested in David s life with an overbearing and strict parent and his teenage forays to New Wave music gigs and his attempts to avoid a violent bully The book picked up for me in the second section and I totally understand why the book has been structured the way it has It was really interesting Wartime in Italy is often overlooked in novels Most tend to deal with wartime Britain, France, Germany and the USSR So my advice would be to give this book a go and stck with it you will be rewarded.


  5. says:

    In How Fires End, we meet two generations of Sicilian born men, Salvatore, the father, and the son who is Sicilian American The book begins with the perspective of David who is a pretty interesting teen who is raised by his overbearing father who seems to have a lot of baggage and heartache from the World War David clashes with another boy named Tony, who constantly bullies him This ends in a pretty awful encounter, which was spoiled in the plot description, much to my chagrin The book then shifts to the perspective of the father during the war The book was well written, but I wish the book had started with the father s story and then went into the son s story It just seemed sort of anticlimactic to have a big event happen at the beginning then have it followed by the pretense of the situation.


  6. says:

    HOW FIRES END is an epic, multi generational novel and an impressive debut Packed with metaphor and rich descriptions, it takes us from and Italian American community in Connecticut, back through time to war torn Italy, revealing buried secrets that led to a family s near destruction I enjoyed the coming of age story of David in part one, and without revealing any spoilers was shocked by the ending of this section This is a story of fathers and sons, the devastation of war, family feuds, betrayals, and eventually, a kind of forgiveness Rafala s lovely prose and vivid story telling make this a good read


  7. says:

    I was lucky to receive a galley copy of this stellar debut novel I really enjoyed the depth of the characters and the coming of age storyline with the character named David The novel has a mystery element as far as the family secret that David s father has kept since his own childhood in Sicily, and the details of the post war Sicilian American experience and the culture they bring to the east coast of the U.S are vividly drawn All in all, this is a rich, character driven novel with a compelling plot and memorable scenes.


  8. says:

    So happy I got an ARC of Marco Rafala s upcoming book How Fires End It s a gripping epic family drama spanning several generations The writing is beautiful and the characters really drew me in It releases on 10 15 but you can pre order now Grab your copy and get ready to dig into a wonderful read


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How Fires End A Dark Secret Born Out Of World War II Lies At The Heart Of A Sicilian American Family In This Emotional And Sweeping Saga Of Guilt, Revenge, And, Ultimately, Redemption After Soldiers Vacate The Sicilian Hillside Town Of Melilli In The Summer Of , The Locals Celebrate, Giving Thanks To Their Patron Saint, Sebastian Amid The Revelry, All It Takes Is One Fateful Moment For The Destiny Of Nine Year Old Salvatore Vassallo To Change Forever When His Twin Brothers Are Killed Playing With An Unexploded Mortar Shell, Salvatore S Faith Is Destroyed As The Family Unravels, And Fear Ignites Among Their Neighbors That The Vassallo Name Is Cursed, One Tragedy Begets AnotherDesperate To Escape This Haunting Legacy, Salvatore Accepts The Help Of An Italian Soldier With Fascist Ties Who Ushers Him And His Sister, Nella, Into A New Beginning In America In Middletown, Connecticut, In The Immigrant Neighborhood Known As Little Melilli, These Three Struggle To Build New Lives For Themselves But A Dangerous Choice To Keep Their Secrets Hidden Erupts In Violence Decades Later When Salvatore Loses His Inquisitive American Born Son, David, They All Learn Too Late The Price Sons Pay For Their Fathers WarsWritten With Elegiac Prose, How Fires End Delves Into The Secret Wars Of Men The Sins They Cannot Bury And A Life Lived In Fear Of Who Will Reveal Them, Who Will Survive Them, And Who Will Forgive Them