The Stars Are Fire: A novel
Anita Shreve writes with a heavy hand about the plight of Grace, a housewife in the late 1940s. Grace lives unhappily in Maine with her husband, Gene, and her two children, Claire and Tom. One night, when wildfires break out and burn down their house, Grace flees to the beach with her children, her friend Rosie, and Rosie’s children. In the aftermath, Grace and her children are homeless and destitute and must move into her late mother-in-law’s house to survive. Gene has disappeared. Grace struggles through poverty, and eventually gets a job and a car. She falls in love. She sells some of her mother-in-law’s jewelry for money. But her trials aren’t over.
This novel had no subtlety. Shreve makes sure her readers know how terrible Grace and Gene’s sex life is and how few life options and support women had in the 1940s and ‘50s. Gene is cartoon-villain cruel, and some of the secondary characters were complicit in his cruelty. If you’re a reader who requires an emotional roller coaster of a book to be entertained, makeThe Stars Are Fire your next book purchase.
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