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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 (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 (1055 )
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4.7 (720 )
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Performance
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  •  
    09-07-12
    09-07-12 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    153
    ratings
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    Story
    "The Great Australian Underdog Story!"

    This is a classic australian underdog story - warts and all.

    Bryce Courtnay is probably Australia's greatest author. He is an immigrant and fittingly this story is full of characters both "5 generation aussies" and people who have adopted Australia as their own.

    His story tells of Australia as it is in the 50s and 60s. The friction between people who follow different churches. The statement on how aboriginals are considered lower than human beings. Touching glimpses of Auschwitz survivors living in rural Australia. People impacted by various wars and impact on families.

    In it all, Bryce's candor and ability to weave an engaging story shines through. The story is about the Moloney family who are the lowest of the low in a rural backwater and practically nobodies. They barely survive working as garbage collectors, the father's a drunk and a convict, the mum's a feisty overweight woman and the 4 kids are all from different fathers - yet the story is not predictable. Through their varied stories Bryce pulls together a mosaic of Australian people that is engaging, brilliant and satisfying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jason perth, Australia 03-28-12
    jason perth, Australia 03-28-12 Member Since 2012

    Aussie truckie, on the long haul!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "burns hot!"
    What did you love best about Four Fires?

    A good example of australian country town life back in the fifties.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I don't really have a favourite one, every character plays their part nicely but i do think tommy's story about his p.o.w treatment in ww2 had my ear buds stuck firmly in my ears & also made me shed a few tears too...


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

    yes i have listened to quite a few of humphrey's narrations & i think he really brings out the australian country town accent perfect in this book, my opinion of humphrey is that he rarely gets a character's accent wrong & nearly always brings the book to life.


    Any additional comments?

    One of my favourite bryce courtenay books, just remember it is a work of fiction, but with a good deal of research & facts thrown in which gives it a sort of non fiction feel. A must for anyone who loves to kill a bit of time with a great audio book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-04-12
    01-04-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Exceptional talking book all round!"
    What made the experience of listening to Four Fires the most enjoyable?

    Quintessentially Australian story with a rich lineup of characters.


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

    Mole as he was so believable.


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

    Mole- he felt like I knew him and could easily spend time talking.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Coltman 08-23-11
    Ian Coltman 08-23-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well done again"

    I just never tire listening to this great writer's books. Lost count of how many now, but it feels like Humphrey Bower is a mate of mine. I cannot wait to listen again.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Aldridge Savannah, GA 03-06-11
    S. Aldridge Savannah, GA 03-06-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great read, astounding reader"

    This is a great story or perhaps series of stories about a family from down under. Washed in the Australian dialect which made Crocodile Dundee a popular hit.
    But the best part of this read is the reader. How did God grant one human such talent to provide a dozen or more distinct voices, each of which is perfect. Well done

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn Fraser Watertown,WI USA 02-10-11
    Lynn Fraser Watertown,WI USA 02-10-11 Member Since 2008

    walkaway

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I give it 11 out of 10!"

    By the time I was done with this book I felt I had lived in Australia for at least 19 years. I could easily say I felt at home but I was merely a transplant who watched it all fade away at the last word. I always enjoy Bryce's books, well, except Sylvia. This one is a close second to the Power Of One, which is the BEST.
    He writes characters that you wish you really could meet and lives you wish you lived. Do take the chance on this book, I truly believe you'll enjoy it -as I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Grapevine, TX, United States 01-16-11
    David Grapevine, TX, United States 01-16-11 Member Since 2010

    Brit in Exile

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My 7th Courtenay/Bower Combination - Stunning"

    So, as I mentioned in the title, this was my 7th Bryce Courtenay novel and I have listened to every one narrated by Humphrey Bower. Actually, I am now in the middle of 'The Persimmon Tree' which will be my 8th. So why haven't I just reviewed all of them - I should have done, but just haven't sat down on this site to do so. They are all superb, but I have never felt quite so engaged in a book and thoroughly moved and literally emotionally wrenched by a novel as I was with Four Fires. The description of the experiences of Tommy as a POW had me in tears, the love and togetherness of the Maloney Family is touching, humorous and essentially uplifting.

    As with most of what I have read by Bryce Courtenay, the research into the history, the development of the characters and the sheer artfulness of the storyline are a delight. Put all this together with an outstanding narrator in Humphrey Bower and you have an unforgettable experience - Highly Recommended, as are all of these books, especially with the combination of author and narrator. I am just sorry that I am going to run out of books to listen to by BC in the next couple of months!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    richard Murfreesboro, TN, United States 07-10-14
    richard Murfreesboro, TN, United States 07-10-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Rates as actual literature"

    Thoroughly entertaining. This is a sweeping story covering years of a family's life. The family is in Australia and the reader makes you feel like you are sitting at the table having a conversation with the characters. The characters are so rich and well developed that by the third chapter you feel like you actually know them. I found myself laughing, cheering, and sometimes tearing during this entertaining story. I have an eclectic taste in books and have liked many styles of writing but I usually rate most books a three for simply doing their job of keeping me entertained while I mow the lawn or go on a long drive. Sometimes I need a break from the popular trilogy's and murder thrillers that serve as the mainstay of todays book market. This book is a viable alternative to those and is well worth your time! Truly good writing is hard to find but that is what you want as you look through hundreds of book titles on Audible deciding where to drop a credit. I place this book up there with some of my favorites like "The Pillars of the Earth", "Beach Music", and "The Stand'. All four very different but sharing a simple commonality. They are great stories well told. I hope you enjoy "Four Fires" as much as I did.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha Humphreys Montana, USA 04-28-14
    Martha Humphreys Montana, USA 04-28-14 Member Since 2009

    coachwrite

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    "Another excellent story from BC, Down Under"

    Recent history unfolds with page turning entertainment bringing us the Aussie experience of immigration that parallels our own(US). From WWII to post Viet Nam era, the author relates one family's saga with humor, tolerance, hope and love. Examining a modern phenomena, PTSD, the effects of trauma on all human beings, the author educates as he entertains us with depth of characterization and detailed information on the realities of war, natural challenges, and the strength within each of us to survive and thrive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra PREMAYDENA, Australia 12-24-13
    Sandra PREMAYDENA, Australia 12-24-13
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    "I cried and I laughed!"
    If you could sum up Four Fires in three words, what would they be?

    Engrossing, enlightening, realistic.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The way the story unfolded. The weaving together of fiction and fact into a rich tapestry of life in Australia in the middle of the 20th century. Learning things about the war I did not know before.


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

    Humphrey Bower is a wonderfully gifted narrator who brings each character uniquely to life.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had many different extreme reactions relating to both tears and laughter - it was brilliant!


    Any additional comments?

    I've always enjoyed listening to Bryce Courtney's stories and this one was up there with the best. Thank you so much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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