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Four Fires | [Bryce Courtenay]

Four Fires

The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.
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Publisher's Summary

The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.

©2010 Bryce Courtenay; ©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Humphrey Bower, speaking as Mole, delivers every possible nuance and emotion of his character’s story, and shows a startling aptitude for other dialects as well. Close family friends and enemies include surviving Polish Jews, an East Indian healer, an Irish Catholic priest, Japanese prison camp soldiers, and many others. All of them, young and old, male and female, spring to vivid life in Bower’s versatile voice. Narrative passages and dialogue elicit tears and laughter by turns, without a minute of boredom in the 30-hour production." (AudioFile magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1160 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Paul Kruger Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa 09-01-12
    Paul Kruger Pretoria, Gauteng South Africa 09-01-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Best listen in a while"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Brilliant story and one of the best narrators I've encountered in ages


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Four Fires?

    Still busy only at chapter 7


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The visit by Sarah to the old indian woman, when Sarah tried to get rid of her baby


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul New York, NY, United States 08-31-12
    Paul New York, NY, United States 08-31-12 Member Since 2011

    Media Nerd

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    "Best heard to laugh, cry and cringe."
    Where does Four Fires rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would not have appreciated the Australian atmosphere as much reading this book. The narration brought everything about the story up to 10. It helped to be Irish but more just to be able to appreciate the range of love and hate we humans can express. I really loved this book even though there were parts that I had to skip about the war in the Pacific that hit too close to home. But in total the whole story about familial love with quite a few hot spots thrown in. You will like it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Four Fires?

    I just loved the interaction between the family priest and the mother. True.. true...true.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The reader and the book are forever connected.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Beware - life ahead.


    Any additional comments?

    Sometimes words are as strong as a thousand pictures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    james Rochester, NY, United States 08-30-12
    james Rochester, NY, United States 08-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Touching Story of family & love"
    Any additional comments?

    Love Courtney's work, and this story does not disappoint. Humphrey Bower, as always, is fantastic! Enjoyed this story even more than the Australia trilogy (which is surprising since I loved those three books). Touching, funny, and so well written and read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Queen 08-25-12
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    "Great once again!"
    What did you love best about Four Fires?

    This follows the story of an Aussie family just after WWII. Classic Bryce Courtenay and brilliant narration. From the town garbage collectors to university graduates this family shows that you can be what you want.


    What other book might you compare Four Fires to and why?

    Any other Bryce Courtenay


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    His accents are spot on and I get lost in the story because it sounds like he is talking to me directly.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly reccomend The persimmon Tree and the Astrailian Triology. All are so good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barb 08-06-12
    Barb 08-06-12
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    "Can't Turn It Off!"
    If you could sum up Four Fires in three words, what would they be?

    The Mulroney Family is a wonderfully close, loving family with the matriarch of Nancy as having the most opinionated and having the most practical logic a person could imagine. I love Mole and Bozo and all the Mulroney children. The characters in this book had me laughing and crying and just plain enjoying their lives as they all go along learning and growing. Each one a different personality, all coming together as a loving family. Great listen. I love long audiobooks because you get to know the characters completely. Bryce Courtenay is one of the most imaginative writer's I have listened to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mole because he is telling the story and being a young man, the way he looks at life is just simply put: wonderful.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    My imagination, as I listen to the characters I can see each one in a light I wouldn't see them in if I were reading. When reading I am trying to read each word as not to miss anything. When I listen: I hear each word and my mind's eye sees all of the picture.


    Who was the most memorable character of Four Fires and why?

    Tommy--he is so misunderstood and yet so brutally honest in his character.


    Any additional comments?

    Way to go Bryce Courtenay. I have read many of the books this author has written and they all come home to me as if I were in the story. Just watching all the going's on and enjoying the laughs when they laugh and the tears when they cry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Northwold, South Africa 07-30-12
    Mark Northwold, South Africa 07-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Immersive Storyteller!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Haven't heard a thing from Bryce which didn't resonate with me. As a South African, Bryce's style of prose and terminology ring familiar to earlier times of my childhood.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Humphrey Bower is arguably the best narrator I have heard (and I have heard a lot!). Wonderful accents and emotive timing helps create an immersive listener experience which does justice to a great story by Bryce.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael New Canaan, CT, United States 07-21-12
    michael New Canaan, CT, United States 07-21-12 Member Since 2007
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    "A great family story!( A story of a family)"
    If you could sum up Four Fires in three words, what would they be?

    I am loving all of Bryce's books. As a fellow adman I am jealous and appreciative of his command of storytelling. Nice mix of moral, interest and, of course, all the wonderful Aussie and S. African turns of phrase and expressions. Makes me feel dumbs a box of hair :)

    Humphrey Bower is the new king of narrators.
    He rivals and surpasses in some ways Scott Brick and John Lee.
    Amazing with accents, characters and emphasis

    The Courtenay books are the best I have listened to in years! And I have 2 accounts listening to about 5 a month while super commuting.
    You will love
    Enjoy!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Northern California 07-05-12
    Amazon Customer Northern California 07-05-12 Member Since 2008

    J.F., CA. I am a voracious "bookaholic" who enjoys many different genres. I am often listening to/reading multiple books at the same time.

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    "I love Bryce Courtenay's books"

    This author had me since the Power of One. His books are always a tour de force. The characters are ALWAYS well developed and generally complex (meaning they are worth having a story told about them). Courtenay's books teaches about history, social systems and cultures in a way that the reader does not mind at all. His books are always a fantastic ride. The stories are always interesting, the dialogue believable - never cliched, preachy or overly verbose unless necessary to the plot. The only thing I do not like with many of Courtenay's books are the details about war and/or boxing when those elements are a part of the story. That of course does not mean anything is wrong with those subjects, just that I do not particularly like endless details on these subjects. The pairing of narrator Humphrey Bower with Courtenay is a marriage made in heaven. Bower is exceptionally talented and is a master at different accents and dialects. It would be awkward for me to listen to Courtenay's work narrated by anyone else. Courtenay is the #1 author in his country, Australia. He is extremely prolific and has written many books. He has indicated in his interviews that he has many more books to write before he dies and he therefore maintains a very disciplined writing schedule. This tells you that this man oozes with writing gift and story ideas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane E. Sidener Philadelphia, PA United States 05-23-12
    Diane E. Sidener Philadelphia, PA United States 05-23-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Another compelling family from Bryce Courtenay"

    Another good Bryce Courtenay story, Four Fires is nonetheless a difficult story to listen to, especially the lengthy recapitulation of the horrors of his Borneo POW experiences as recounted by the protagonist's father. The tale's strength lies, however, in the complex, somewhat dysfunctional, but still powerful family relationships. Definitely a worthwhile read, which I found enriched by Humphrey Bower's performance and vocal characterizations (although he may be improving in this regard, I object to his accents for white Americans--nearly as bad as most BBC actors').

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margaret abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates 05-07-12
    margaret abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates 05-07-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent is all I can say!"
    Where does Four Fires rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This even supersedes Power of One, which I absolutely loved, but only just!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The whole art of integrating different characters,different viewpoints,different dialects is made to look easy when listening to this book. Bryce Courtenany brings his characters alive and with such compelling storylines that it's hard to stop listening.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I had already read this book an age ago but on discovering Humphrey Bowers ability to bring other books alive with his truly wonderful accents and nuances with each different character,was not disappointed when listening to this performance,absolutely one of his best to date!


    If you could take any character from Four Fires out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    It would be wonderful to be at dinner with the whole of the extended Maloney family, to be able to watch the interactions going on all around and feeling that you know them so well due to the depth of the authors and narrators performance


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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