The Arsonist; Sue Miller
Knopf / Doubleday - June 2014
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 fires to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.
After decades of summering in Pomeroy, New Hampshire, Sylvia Rowley has decided to retire to the house she loves with her brilliant but increasingly scattered husband, Alfie, until now a professor at the local college. Her son, Clark, is renovating a small house on their property. Her daughter Frankie, who lives and works in Africa, returns home for her first extended visit in years and begins an unexpected romance with the editor of the local newspaper, himself newly arrived and hoping to save it. Over the course of two summer months, class and social fault lines are exposed, and the simmering question of who owns the land and the town is brought to a boil as fires continue to rage through Pomeroy's homes and the arsonist remains at large.
Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Miller—a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, possibility and finitude, and the question of how and where to live, what it means to lead a fulfilling life. One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.