Saturday, June 1, 2019

Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)

Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere is one of those phenomenon books that spread by word of mouth. It was on the bestseller list for a long time, and for good reason. Each character is as intriguing as the next, all with multiple layers and secrets with major repercussions.

Shaker Heights is a planned suburb of Cleveland. The residents there take pride in the rules and structure of their community, especially Elena Richardson, journalist, wife, and the mother of three children. The book begins with the the Richardson house burning to the ground, and the youngest daughter, Izzy, nowhere to be found.

Ng wisely begins with this shocker, and then presents us with what led up to it. So many plot points are in play here, from Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl, moving into the neighborhood, to the custody battle for a Chinese-American baby. Little Fires Everywhere is one giant puzzle, and the reader waits with bated breath until the final puzzle piece is ready to go in.

I reviewed Ng's Everything I Never Told You just a few weeks ago, but I found this so much better. While Everything felt dull and confusing during the last quarter, this one stays interesting and layered until the very end, just like a puzzle. I loved it.