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Sarabande Books (2018-10-16)
Aktuelles Material
Historical adventure fiction


by Brown, Rosellen

A keen examination of social class, family, love, and revolution in a historical time marked by a tumultuous social landscape.

The novel opens among 19th century Jewish immigrants on a failing Wisconsin farm. Dazzled by lore of the American dream, Chaya and her strange, brilliant, young brother Asher stow away to Chicago; what they discover there, however, is a Gilded Age as empty a facade as the beautiful Columbian Exposition luring thousands to Lake Michigan's shore. The pair scrapes together a meager living - Chaya in a cigar factory; Asher, roaming the city and stealing books and jewelry to share with the poor, until they find different paths of escape.

An examination of family, love, and revolution, this profound tale resonates eerily with today's current events and tumultuous social landscape. The Lake on Fire is robust, gleaming, and grimy all at once, proving that celebrated author Rosellen Brown is back with a story as luminous as ever.

Rosellen Brown is the author of the novels Civil Wars, Half a Heart, Tender Mercies, Before and After, and six other books. Her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Best Short Stories of the Century. She now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and lives in Mr. Obama's neighborhood, overlooking Lake Michigan.

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What a remarkable feat of imagination, recreation and literary craft is this superb novel set in turn-of-the-century Chicago. What really drives it, in the best tradition of Dreiser, Doctorow, Bellow, Tillie Olson, Anzia Yesierska and Henry Roth, is the deeply sympathetic involvement in moments of consciousness and action, by which a seemingly lost world is triumphantly retrieved.

Quote: Phillip Lopate

Like Jane Austen, she digs deeper and deeper into the territory she has staked out, always coming up with brilliant new jewels. In her books, Brown explores intimate family relationships while engaging social issues.

Quote: Laurie Muchnick

What a pleasure to have a new novel from Rosellen Brown, an important voice in fiction; and what a particular pleasure to have this novel, which is not only a brilliant coming-of-age-in-the Gilded-Age story, as well as an engrossing sibling story, but is also a keen exploration of ideas around heroism, making one's way in the world, and the tensions between material comforts and the persistent desire to be of use. Vivid and rich, Rosellen Brown's book swept me in and held me there.

Quote: Meg Wolitzer

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