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Download The Arsonist: A Novel Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Arsonist: A Novel, by Sue Miller Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sue Miller Narrator: Sue Miller Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the bestselling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator’s Wife comes a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.

Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come home—home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father’s slow failing and her mother’s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people.

These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself. As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors. Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.

Suspenseful, sophisticated, rich in psychological nuance and emotional insight, The Arsonist is vintage Sue Miller—a finely wrought novel about belonging and community, about how and where one ought to live, about what it means to lead a fulfilling life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Miller eschews easy cliffhangers or narrative deceits. The momentum grows instead from her compassionate handling of these characters…Not all questions are answered, nor all mysteries solved, but the end of the book is imbued with the same quiet energy that’s been building throughout; it’s not happy, exactly—that would be too easy—but, in true Sue Miller fashion, it’s triumphant.”


  • “Subtle…Miller writes effectively about the tense underpinnings of a summer community…Full of Miller’s signature intelligence about people caught between moral responsibility and a hunger for self-realization.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Thoughtful, intense…An ambitious, big-issue novel…The Arsonist takes place far removed from national news or world conflicts, but it, too, reflects the most urgent matters of our time…When even mentioning the widening distance between the classes is considered an act of class warfare, it’s encouraging to watch Miller’s novel negotiate this awkward fact of American lif…The continuing miracle of Miller’s compelling storytelling [is that] she knows these people matter, and as she moves gently from one character’s perspective to another, her sensitive delineation of their lives convinces us of that, too.”

    Washington Post

  • “Entertaining and highly readable…Miller’s scenes are terrific. She is expert at moving people in and out of rooms in a visual and easy way [and] describing physical chemistry and attraction in a way that manages to avoid all cliché… Fantastic sizzle, both sexual and spiritual…A cracking good romance.”

    Boston Globe

  • “An arsonist is working in their midst, targeting ‘summer people,’ a revelation that deepens the rift between year-round residents and vacationers. As the intensity of these events mount, Frankie becomes passionately involved with Bud Jacobs, the town’s newspaper owner and editor. Like previous Sue Miller novels, The Arsonist probes serious questions even as it gathers suspense.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “Lyrical, compelling…Miller’s portrayal of the fragility of relationships and fear of the unknown—of the things that happen to and around us that we can’t control—are spot-on…Miller is a nuanced storyteller who portrays real life…Provocative, suspenseful, and emotional.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “A complex page-turner about class differences, family relationships, and the meaning of home…Miller is a master at mining the intricacies of human relationships …Miller explores with all her characters finding their place in the world and living a meaningful life.”

    Cape Codder

  • “A provocative novel about the boundaries of relationships and the tenuous alliance between locals and summer residents when a crisis is at hand…Miller, a pro at explicating family relationships as well as the fragile underpinnings of mature romance, brilliantly explores how her characters define what ‘home’ means to them and the lengths they will go to protect it.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With her trademark elegant prose and masterful command of subtle psychological nuance, Miller explores the tensions between the summer people and the locals in a small New Hampshire town…In this suspenseful and romantic novel, Miller delicately parses the value of commitment and community, the risky nature of relationships, and the yearning for meaningful work.”


  • “As a series of fires in a small New Hampshire town exposes tensions between summer and year-round residents, the members of one in-between family confront their own desires, limitations, and capacities to love in Miller’s latest…Miller’s portrayal of early Alzheimer’s and the toll it takes on a family is disturbingly accurate and avoids the sentimental uplift prevalent in issue-oriented fiction…Miller captures all the complicated nuances of a family in crisis.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Not only is Sue Miller one of our most deft and satisfying writers of literary fiction, she’s also on a par as a performer with some of the best narrators of audiobooks we have. Her voice is lovely, calm, and supple, and her tone matches the smooth style of the writing in a way that makes for a wonderfully integrated listening experience, completely free of distracting questions of whether the performer has understood what the author intended. The story, of a small New England town on edge because of a string of arsons, is more thoughtful than dramatic, and feels utterly real. Miller writes women particularly well, and it’s fascinating to know how Frankie Rowley’s inner life sounds to Miller herself. A beautiful performance. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, June 2014
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • One of Barnes & Noble's Biggest Books, June 2014
  • A 2014 Library Journal Editor’s Pick
  • An AudioFile Best Audiobook of the Year for 2014
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