Extended Audio Sample

Download The Great Fire: A Novel Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Great Fire: A Novel (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Shirley Hazzard
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,983 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shirley Hazzard Narrator: Virginia Leishman Publisher: Recorded Books Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2004 ISBN:
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This mesmerizing, poetic novel won the 2003 National Book Award for fiction and has earned universal acclaim. Set against the beautiful but tragic landscape of post-World War II Asia, The Great Fire tells a sweeping tale of the search for new beginnings in a world ravaged by tragedy.

Thirty-two-year-old war hero Aldred Leith is in Japan to survey the Hiroshima devastation. His close friend and fellow veteran Peter Exley prosecutes Japanese war criminals in Hong Kong. Striving to rebuild lives shattered by war, both men reach critical turning points. Leith falls in love with a precocious and charming 17-year-old girl, while Exley faces a decision that will forever alter his path.

Author Shirley Hazzard's first novel in more than 20 years, The Great Fire is an elegant and beautifully crafted story that resonates long past the final word. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Seth | 2/20/2014

    " The writing is a little difficult to understand. Also, I find the spelling of words to seem off, and I am not sure whether it is because they use British spelling or because of editing errors. The book is interesting and I can understand the main ideas. The end of the book is kind of vague in that the story kind of just stops, without really telling us how things get resolved, or even if ever they do get resolved. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 2/19/2014

    " Absolutely glorious. It also features one of the most lyrical final lines in fiction. Don't read that final line first though, as it gives away too much. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denis | 2/12/2014

    " As beautiful as the painting that is used to illustrate the cover. Hazzard's writing is mesmerizing, and for that alone she totally deserved her prize. Such writing is pure art, it's literature at its best. The story happens to be as compelling and powerful, in a classic way that brings us back to a certain kind of Anglo-saxon tradition of story-telling. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesley Knight | 2/2/2014

    " Read for my book group. Dense, at times difficult to follow, beautiful language. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miranda | 1/29/2014

    " Shirley Hazzard has a lot to teach her readers about writing. There is a compression to her style that belies the depth of meaning, allusion, and storytelling that goes on beneath the surface. It is a small struggle to enter into the world of The Great Fire, but once invested reading becomes an active engagment. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Carol | 1/27/2014

    " I listened to this on audiobook. I am not sure if I had read it, that I would have had the interest to finish it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne Sanow | 1/17/2014

    " It's weird: I found myself resisting this as I read, while also being annoyed at myself for being so conventional as to have a problem with the age difference between the lovers. But I found myself really being blown away by the amazing sweep of the whole thing, and I thought, damn: this is the kind of smart, epic, historical love story I wish I could pull off some day. And it's really stayed with me, which says a lot, yes? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/14/2014

    " This is my favorite novel ever. Which is interesting as many people hated this. But I figure any novel that took 20 years to write is worth the read. It is a master piece on war, love and the damage humans incur from both. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie H. Ferguson | 12/24/2013

    " A must read novel set in post-WWII. Compelling story with not a word wasted or incorrect. I loved it and found it a page turner. Highly recommended for fiction writers to enjoy the craft and for readers to admire. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jamie | 12/15/2013

    " This is the kind of book that reminds you there's half of an English language that is never used. The writing alone more than lives up to the beauty of the cover. (Sure, no one really talks that way, but that's why we have books, right?) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abigail | 12/6/2013

    " Really smart book. Great recommendation, Buffy! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alisa | 11/24/2013

    " Overwritten, yet still somehow weak on both characterization and plot (a novel needs at least one of those!). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Trina | 10/9/2013

    " I love Shirley Hazzard. This one is set in Japan and New Zealand after World War 2. It's an unlikely love story but a lovely one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aliceanne | 7/5/2013

    " Liked this one, too - "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael | 9/29/2012

    " I was not impressed - Bored Stiff "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karl | 7/3/2012

    " A beautiful book. The best fiction I have read in many years! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Laurie Huang | 4/9/2012

    " read half way through and stopped - lost interest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ann Canann | 2/17/2012

    " The book is set in east Asia in 1946-7. The great fire of the title is the atomic bombing of Japan. There is a strong sense of place and time, but I found it slow and lacking in drama. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachael | 12/15/2011

    " This book is extremely well-written, but it's a bit dense and I found I really had to push myself to finish it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lynne | 11/2/2011

    " So romantic in the best way, sweeping across continents, dying empires, familial obstacles, the ashes of war, British country houses, passenger ships, Japanese villages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 10/26/2011

    " Romantic, filled with suspense. Thought it was interesting and worthwhile reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Margarita | 10/19/2011

    " The prose was exquisite and the story was gripping and oh so romantic. What more do you need? I didn't want this book to end and parts of it are still with me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Dajana | 4/14/2011

    " Dull, bland, boring..just a few words to describe what I thought of this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jonfaith | 4/7/2011

    " An astonishing sojourn, I would have edited the final quarter to a degree, but it is an amazing portal. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris | 3/9/2011

    " Beautifully written and a good story line. Lots of interesting detail about the time and places. Some complicated and unconventional relationships present challenges to the reader. Left wondering is that OK or not OK? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 2/19/2011

    " i loved this book. not the easiest read, but I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marsie | 2/13/2011

    " Beautiful writing. Hard to get into at first, and dense in the
    sense that the sentences are poetic and full of meaning. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Diane | 2/1/2011

    " Just not scintillating. I don't know if was the book or the reader. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lori | 1/19/2011

    " I only made it to page 58. I just couldn't get into it. She's a skillful writer and I stand by my belief that Transit of Venus is one of the greatest pieces of modern literature, but this wasn't so great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennyreadsexcessively | 12/21/2010

    " audiobook, well... the writing is gorgeous, the plot and characters are quite a bore, National Book Award "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Chris | 11/18/2010

    " I just could not get into this story so I put it down after about 50 pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abigail | 10/29/2010

    " Takes a while (about 30 pages) to get into it, but it becomes quite worthwhile. "

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About the Narrator

Virginia Leishman successfully revived The Railway Children and other titles by E. Nesbit. She parses phrases carefully for nuance, and flavors dialogue with personality and spontaneity, as exemplified in her rendition of A. S. Byatt’s Possession.