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How Fires End [Reading] ➶ How Fires End By Marco Rafalà – Thomashillier.co.uk A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemptionAfter soldiers vacate the Sicil A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemptionAfter soldiers vacate the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of , the locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint, Sebastian Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine year old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever When his twin How Fires PDF/EPUB or brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore s faith is destroyed As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets anotherDesperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later When Salvatore loses his inquisitive American born son, David, they all learn too late the price sons pay for their fathers warsWritten with elegiac prose, How Fires End delves into the secret wars of men the sins they cannot bury and a life lived in fear of who will reveal them, who will survive them, and who will forgive them.


10 thoughts on “How Fires End

  1. Hallie Szott Hallie Szott says:

    3.5Marco Rafal s How Fires End is a transporting story With exquisite language and storytelling, he brings to life an experience deeply rooted in Sicilian culture and World War II It unfolds in reverse over the course of three generations and conveys grief, loss, revenge, guilt, secrets, and .I struggled to get into this book mostly, I think, because based on the blurb, I expected the setting of How Fires End to be World War II era Sicily primarily However, the first half focuses on Davi 3.5Marco Rafal s How Fires End is a transporting story With exquisite language and storytelling, he brings to life an experience deeply rooted in Sicilian culture and World War II It unfolds in reverse over the course of three generations and conveys grief, loss, revenge, guilt, secrets, and .I struggled to get into this book mostly, I think, because based on the blurb, I expected the setting of How Fires End to be World War II era Sicily primarily However, the first half focuses on David, Salvatore s son, in 1986 Connecticut as he unravels his family history, and I was confused about the overall trajectory of the story However, with the change to Salvatore s perspective and then, later to Vincenzo s , it all began to make sense to me.So, I think that with the right expectations, readers of historical fiction could easily love How Fires End Definitely check it out if it piques your interest This review is also posted on Hallie Reads.I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own


  2. Susan Susan says:

    What happens when faith blinds us to our own humanity How Fires End is part war story and aftermath, part mythology, a lamentation shot through with melancholy and pathos Rafal writes of the fathers and sons and daughters of Mellili, Sicily with such care and tenderness that to read it was like listening to the breathing out and collapse of an accordion history folding over onto itself, sighing out a mournful story on notes of stone and stars We yearn with David, grieve with Salvatore, shoul What happens when faith blinds us to our own humanity How Fires End is part war story and aftermath, part mythology, a lamentation shot through with melancholy and pathos Rafal writes of the fathers and sons and daughters of Mellili, Sicily with such care and tenderness that to read it was like listening to the breathing out and collapse of an accordion history folding over onto itself, sighing out a mournful story on notes of stone and stars We yearn with David, grieve with Salvatore, shoulder the yoke of history with Vincenzo, console and heal with Nella, as each tells a story of wars waged, battles lost, and secrets kept


  3. Jeff Jeff says:

    I ended up with an ARC of this book, somewhat at random, not through a giveaway Meaning I am under no obligation to write a review I m just writing a review because I really enjoyed it How Fires End is about how a single tragedy can haunt multiple generations of a family, leaving its mark across two continents and many lives If there s a lesson and I m not sure I d call it a lesson in the morality tale kind of sense it s that keeping the secrets of the past from loved ones even when done I ended up with an ARC of this book, somewhat at random, not through a giveaway Meaning I am under no obligation to write a review I m just writing a review because I really enjoyed it How Fires End is about how a single tragedy can haunt multiple generations of a family, leaving its mark across two continents and many lives If there s a lesson and I m not sure I d call it a lesson in the morality tale kind of sense it s that keeping the secrets of the past from loved ones even when done out of protection with the best intentions allows guilt and revenge to resurface over and over The family curse only continues because of everyone s attempts to deny their history The book uses the Sicilian experience and the Sicilian American immigrant experience to layer each moment with faith, culture, and food, giving the entire story a deeper texture The way religious belief influences and colors the story is really wonderful It s spinning around the specific religious myths and customs of a town handed down through the years, a very personal, familial, and community connection to religion The community stories and legends are always close to the surface of life, making a history of tragedy and a presumed curse harder to escape While the story of this family is book ended by twin tragedies, the book itself doesn t sink into melodrama or maudlin prose I tend to be adverse to tragedy porn, but despite the way this story revolves around personal loss, it s much broader and bigger than that I think the best parts of the novel are set during WWII and the post war years, where the writing manages to merge lyricism and story in a straightforward manner I struggled a bit with the opening section, partially because the story of the awkward, yearning youth struggling with his coming of age is something I ve read many times before Though even in those scenes, there s a tension of secrets to be revealed and historical significance that provide added weight And then, in the second part, the history of the family comes out and the prose evolves into something both original and expertly crafted I understand why the first section is so necessary The author starts with the conclusion of the multi generational tragedy in order to builddepth into the backstory The whole book is like that, layer upon layer And then the second two thirds of the book are just amazing, and earn the reader s prolonged attention


  4. William Dameron William Dameron says:

    This savory and captivating novel is a stunning debut I was engrossed in this story about a rivalry between two families that was sparked during World War II in the small Sicilian town of Melilli The author uses all of the senses in his descriptions The story ingeniously begins with the youngest generation of the Italian American clans in Middletown, CT with the smoldering anger of generations carried upon their shoulders He then delves into the past, revealing the layers of this story like This savory and captivating novel is a stunning debut I was engrossed in this story about a rivalry between two families that was sparked during World War II in the small Sicilian town of Melilli The author uses all of the senses in his descriptions The story ingeniously begins with the youngest generation of the Italian American clans in Middletown, CT with the smoldering anger of generations carried upon their shoulders He then delves into the past, revealing the layers of this story like a fine Italian dish, complex, hearty and delicious, each bite bringing you to the final satisfying conclusion revealing a father s fierce love for his son In this beautiful story food is a metaphor for love This tale filled me up


  5. Penny (Literary Hoarders) Penny (Literary Hoarders) says:

    Another terrific debut The storytelling and writing inside were like reading butter I felt the first two sections narrated by David, the son and Salvatore, the father to be the strongest There is another section that comes from Salvatore s friend, Vincenzo s perspective but I felt this part petered out for me Nella, the sister of Salvatore, ends the book with her start to righting the wrongs of the past in her family for the next generation Completely recommend this is a wonderful fam Another terrific debut The storytelling and writing inside were like reading butter I felt the first two sections narrated by David, the son and Salvatore, the father to be the strongest There is another section that comes from Salvatore s friend, Vincenzo s perspective but I felt this part petered out for me Nella, the sister of Salvatore, ends the book with her start to righting the wrongs of the past in her family for the next generation Completely recommend this is a wonderful family saga that starts post WWII in Italy and ends in America and looks into how keeping a family s secret can bring pain and suffering into the next generation


  6. Betty Betty says:

    Marco Rafal paints a masterpiece with words A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption HOW FIRES END is the debut novel of this stunningly talented author I had to keep reminding myself over and over that is a debut novel The writing is superb, and I was quickly drawn into the story of this family.Written from the perspectives of Salvatore, his sister Nella, his son Marco Rafal paints a masterpiece with words A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption HOW FIRES END is the debut novel of this stunningly talented author I had to keep reminding myself over and over that is a debut novel The writing is superb, and I was quickly drawn into the story of this family.Written from the perspectives of Salvatore, his sister Nella, his son David, and his friend Vincenzo the story begins in Middletown, Connecticut where the families settled over time After the shocking ending of the first section, we are then thrown back in time to postwar Melilli, Sicily where nine year old Salvatore s twin brothers are killed by a mortar shell and the lives of two families would be forever changed Like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle the reader is able to slowly piece together fragments of the story and eventually unravel the secrets that have affected the families over generations The book ends in Middletown as the consequence of the long buried secrets is realized.At times my breath was taken away as I felt the heartaches the Vassallo family endured I was frustrated with the betrayals and the price that sons had to pay for their fathers wars This is a culture where nothing is stronger than family, yet family can be destroyed by pride and senseless revenge I kept hoping the families involved would recognize this before being completely destroyed This multi generational story is artfully woven through with the background of the families and descriptions of the Sicilian landscape, the traditional foods and rich culture, and old world religion I highly recommend this book and suspect the characters will linger in your memories for some time


  7. Sue Sue says:

    This beautifully written novel is about secrets and how they can affect a family through the generations It s told in three parts David, the son Salvatore, the father and Vincenzo, a friend and father figure who helped bring Salvatore and his sister Nella from Sicily to America at the end of WWII Even though they are a loving family they all struggle with the secrets that they keep from David.It s very interesting the way that the author told this story first we see the outcome of keepin This beautifully written novel is about secrets and how they can affect a family through the generations It s told in three parts David, the son Salvatore, the father and Vincenzo, a friend and father figure who helped bring Salvatore and his sister Nella from Sicily to America at the end of WWII Even though they are a loving family they all struggle with the secrets that they keep from David.It s very interesting the way that the author told this story first we see the outcome of keeping secrets and then we learn the secrets and the reasons for hiding the secrets after the war The three of them agree that they won t discuss what happened to them in Sicily during the war to the next generation and even though their reasons make sense, the result of that decision is catastrophic and they all learn too late that the price that was paid for their secrets was too high.This is a story of war and secrets, family betrayals and family curses that can cause irreparable harm when they are carried into the next generation The writing is beautiful and the descriptions of Sicily are incredible I highly recommend this beautiful novel about family and secrets.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review All opinions are my own


  8. Sammy Williams Sammy Williams says:

    The characters, history, and generational family drama made this a great read There was an aspect of one character s motivations that I found a little unbelievable, but it didn t detract from the overall story.Major perk of this book is learning the Italian for evil eye.


  9. Emma Emma says:

    This compelling and beautifully written book is told in three sections, each presenting a slice of history as seen through the eyes of three Sicilian American men whose stories tragically intersect The first part is a coming of age story set in the 1980s and centering David, a young man trying to grapple with a local bully who seems to hold a personal grudge against David s family The second part switches to Sicily, where we meet David s father, Salvatore, growing up in Sicily amid war and tra This compelling and beautifully written book is told in three sections, each presenting a slice of history as seen through the eyes of three Sicilian American men whose stories tragically intersect The first part is a coming of age story set in the 1980s and centering David, a young man trying to grapple with a local bully who seems to hold a personal grudge against David s family The second part switches to Sicily, where we meet David s father, Salvatore, growing up in Sicily amid war and tragedy, dogged by a family curse that follows him to the shores of the New World, and the final section is told through the lens of Salvatore s complicated savior, Vincenzo I loved the way each of the sections contained layers that built on and helped create a deeper understanding of the others The scenes in Sicily are so rich in atmosphere and detail it s clear that Rafal has a strong and indelible connection to this land and culture, and he paints such a vivid picture of this world, even in the details that are carried back to the US the way a father peels blistered peppers the affectionate colloquialisms the family uses like a secret language The novel reminded me at times of Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex one of my favorite books in its depiction of family, identity, cultural displacement, dark secrets, the loss of faith, and the way small decisions can have consequences that ripple down through generations Highly recommended


  10. Charlotte Lynn Charlotte Lynn says:

    As I started this book I was thinking that I was going to be reading about a Sicilian family living during WWII, what I got was something so much better I got a story of a young boy trying to find his way in the world with a father that did not grow up in America I got the story of a father that had lost so much that all he wanted was to keep his son safe The secrets that the father was keeping are the reason that they left their home country to come to America and the reason that he fears he As I started this book I was thinking that I was going to be reading about a Sicilian family living during WWII, what I got was something so much better I got a story of a young boy trying to find his way in the world with a father that did not grow up in America I got the story of a father that had lost so much that all he wanted was to keep his son safe The secrets that the father was keeping are the reason that they left their home country to come to America and the reason that he fears he will lose all that he loves How Fires End is an eye opening look at how WWII not only affected those who fight in the war but those who lived in the towns that the war passed through It is a look at a Sicilian family that is torn apart by things out of their control and then left to try to continue living The story of two families who hold a grudge and have a rivalry that travels from their home country to a new country I enjoyed meeting these characters, learning about their lives, and seeing how they manage to live after seeing what they saw, losing what they did, and having to start their lives over in a new country


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