Title: Wild Fires
Author: Sophie Jai
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: The Borough Press
Publication Date: 12th May 2022
Grief is like an inside joke: you have to have been there to really get it.
The only things Cassandra knows about her family are the stories she’s heard in snatches over the years: about the aunt and cousin she never got to meet, about the man from the folded-up photograph in one of her aunt’s drawers, and of course about her cousin Chevy, and why he never speaks – but no one utters a word about them any more.
When a call from one of her sisters brings Cassandra news of Chevy’s death, she has to return home for the funeral. To Toronto and the big house on Florence Street, where her sisters are hiding more than themselves in their rooms, where the tension brewing between her mother and aunts has been decades in the making, and where sooner or later every secret, unspoken word and painful memory will find its way out into the open.
Moving between Toronto and Trinidad, Wild Fires is a vivid and compelling story exploring the ways we mourn and why we avoid the very things that can save us.
Wild Fires is a story that takes its reader on quite a journey both in terms of narrative and of emotion. It is primarily about the layered complexities of grief and the different forms that grief can take within different people. It demonstrates the ways cracks can begin to grow in families and how those cracks deepen with secrecy throughout the years. The story jumps around in time a fair bit and between Toronto and Trinidad which is admittedly slightly confusing at times but it is more than worth persevering to understand the tale of this complicated family. It is also beautifully written with a rich sense of atmosphere and some achingly sad moments. Wild Fires is not always an easy read but it is a deeply moving and evocative tale that I found really compelling. I’m definitely intrigued to read whatever Sophie Jai writes next.
Thank you to Susanna and the publishers for the blog tour invite and the lovely hardback copy of the book. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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