Imagine a home in flames. In writer Sue Miller's words it looks like, "The setting for a mad party, every window brilliantly lighted. The flames jumping into the dark sky... yellow and full and happy. Sparks [explode] high upward, lighting the air like small-town fireworks, then [drift] away, dying blinking out, like fireflies into the black night."
Except this is not an accident, or a controlled burn. In Miller's latest novel, it's arson. And in Miller's fictional New Hampshire town of Pomeroy, New Hampshire, home after home of wealthy "summering" visitors goes up in flames. But why? Is it the inevitable explosion of long-simmering tensions between year-round residents and the rich? Or the inexplicable randomness that eventually threatens the security of every town, every marriage, every individual at some time in their lives?
- "Miller writes effectively about the tense underpinnings of a summer community, even (especially?) one that has endured a long history of such dualities."
- "This remote setting has drawn the heroine, Frankie Rowley, home from Africa. After 15 years, she’s exhausted by the moral calculus of relief work and brokenhearted by the end of a relationship with a married man. Craving time to recalibrate her life, Frankie imagines she’ll enjoy 'an easy and very American happiness': eating long meals with her retired parents and sleeping late in the bedroom 'she’d had every summer since she was a child.'"
This segment aired on July 7, 2014.