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
"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)
I have read many of courteney's books and i do tjink i enjoyed this one the most.
The most memorable moment for me was going to the bush with tommie to see the great tree and tommiie telling his story of being a pow.m
Mr bower is a very good narrator with all of these books by mr courtenay.when sarah
When sarah told the family she was pregnant.
It is a bloody long book and I doubt that I would have finished reading this book if I had purchased it in hard copy. It is a beautifully written story but Humphrey Bower makes it truly come alive. His change of voice and intonation, accent, and full study of the characters gives his presentation of this read a story you can't soon forget. I could highly recommend this for the pure enjoyment of listening to each character he presents.
I almost never listen or read twice. But this narrator is my absolute favorite! He's a genious at every character; both male and female, Australian, Polish, Indian, Brit, American (black and white). Also, this author is one of my favorites (I love historical fiction) and always learn something new about Australia and more from Bryce Courtenay while being tremendously entertained by the humor and real characters.
It's like Angela's Ashes- poor family makes good of their situation, but with more detail, history, and the best narrator ever.
Who can pick? He's a genius at EVERYONE!! All the Maloney's- male and female- as well as Murray and Sophie (Polish Jews), Mrs. Rika Ray (Indian) the Americans in Vietnam (Black and White!) the Brits in London.
The story is told from the point of view of Mole Maloney, so I have to choose him. But Sarah and Nancy Maloney hit home because I'm female. Each character in EVERY Bryce Courtenay book is always amazingly rendered that it's very hard to pick a favorite. They each INSPIRE in their own way.
Bryce, I hope you live a LONG time and continue to write more and more incredible books like this. Thank you to all who worked on this important book. Thanks Humphrey for your brilliant work at bringing these characters to life.
I loved the story of what this family went through and how it struggled to better themselves. The narrator was very good. He brought the characters to life. At times there was so much detail / specific information I got a little disinterested but it all came together and was a beautiful story.
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.
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.
Engrossing, enlightening, realistic.
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.
Humphrey Bower is a wonderfully gifted narrator who brings each character uniquely to life.
I had many different extreme reactions relating to both tears and laughter - it was brilliant!
I've always enjoyed listening to Bryce Courtney's stories and this one was up there with the best. Thank you so much.
Although the book is long, it never drags. Beautifully written and beautifully performed. Loved Power of One, but this was even better.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
This book is not bad but is too long and rambling. I loved Bryce’s Courtenay’s “The Power of One,” and I enjoyed “Tandia,” but now he has gone off the deep end with a long saga that tries to include too many characters. Also, his propensity to have the goodness of the main characters shine through no matter what their humble situation is, in this book, maudlin and over the top.
I will say that each of the various stories did, at times, really engage me and pull on my heartstrings. The narrator, Mole, is damaged by his war-scarred father, Tommy. Mole’s admiration for his father is heartwarming. His father’s war story is grueling and tragic, but it is really long and boring at the same time. Ugh; that could have been shortened. Mole’s adaptation to life in the bush is interesting, especially the descriptions of fire fighting in Australia. I learned a lot about forest fires in the process. The ending of Mole’s story, at the very end of the book after all those hours of listening, ironically ends up seeming too quickly wrapped up. It’s like Courtenay finally ran out of steam or the editor said ENOUGH. The brother who is in the fashion industry has an interesting story, as well. However, if I were shortening the book, I’d probably have left his part out. My favorite story was the family’s oldest daughter, Sarah, and her feminist struggle to get accepted into medical school against great odds and as a pregnant single woman in backwoods Australia. I liked that. Also the family’s friends, Sophie and Maurie SuckFizzle, have a sad but uplifting story of triumph over adversity, but again this verges into sentimentality and maudlin territory. Then there is the brother who stays around and leads the family to economic success in the trucking business. In all, there are just too many characters and too much territory for one book.
I was really glad when it was over. I may be finished with Bryce Courtenay. I had to search and search for a kindle copy of the book to go along with my audio version. Now I think I know why it was hard to find.
I listened to "The Potato Factory" and "Tommo and Hawk" and was fairly hooked on Bryce Courtenay. Four Fires proved to me that Mr. Courtenay is consistent in his ability to deliver well-developed characters and an intricate story every time!
"brothers and mothers"
The narration of this book enhances it no end - and the characters within it are all believable. Its the story of a family who are desperately trying to keep everything together, about love and loyalty within it, and about achieving ambition when your immediate society doesn't really give you the chance. Its not the best book by this author, but there are characters like Nancy the mother and matriarch - who although not the epitome of motherhood, you still end up hoping and wishing for. There are some laborious bits, but for anyone who likes a family saga then its great.
I enjoyed everything about this book from start to finish. You can't help falling in love with the characters in the story.
Once again Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower enthralled me to such an extent that I just could not put this book down (so to speak). So much attention to detail. I went through the whole gamut of emotions for this unfortunate family. The Master storyteller does it again .......
"Wonderful book I loved listening to it."
Bryce Courtenay could really tell a tale and this is one of his best
I loved Nancy, she was just a wonderful mother.
I could listen to his voice all day.
How a family dragged themselves out of poverty.
A book I would enjoy listening to again.
"Brilliant story, brilliant narration"
The story of a family in a small rural town, living through war, prejudice, struggles, success - Courtenays ability to bring characters to life is outstanding. In the end, I felt like a part of the family! The story moves at perfect pace throughout, even though it spans decades. It also helps that Humphrey Bower's narrations is completely engaging.
Difficult to say, but the first few chapters - where all the characters are introduced - stuck with me right to the end, and that doesn't happen very often.
All of them - he makes them all individuals, and it is difficult to pick one. Mole as the storyteller is brilliant, but his performance as Mrs Rika Ray made me smile!
Definitely - but I also wanted it to never end!
"I didn't expect to enjoy this..."
Gripping, funny, sad, uplifting, educating and
great narration, I loved it and will definitely listen to it again.
"four fires, fires the imagination"
This is a story of a family living in Australia starting after the second world war and through to modern times. This book is a real page turner even though it is in audible fashion, I recommend it to everyone. It has real pace and I found it difficult to turn off and often went into the early hours listening to it.
Mole the leading character gets my vote for favorite character, but the whole family (including the Suckfizzles) all play their part
The part where Tommy (the father) take Mole to see the Maloney Tree and tells him how all of his friends have died is so poignant.
There are parts in these books that make you laugh and parts where you want to cry,it bring out all the emotions .
This is the first work by Bryce Courtenay that I have come across, but it defintely will not be the last.
Triumphant, heartbreaking and real
Mole, being so incisive but being totally unaware of it makes him an engaging character, I want to meet him!!
I really enjoyed Moray (and Sophie) Suckfizzle, so much more than words being read....
When Tommo was recounting his ordeal was harrowing, but also the hardship and endurance of the family when the kids were younger.
I'll definitely get more by Bryce, I love characters with multi dimensional personalities and the folks in this book tick all the boxes....
"Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay"
A brilliant listen. This book is gripping from start to finish. Informative, detailed, heartwarming, funny, sometimes horrifying, you get to know the principal characters so well that you could be part of the family. It covers so many events and experiences in gripping detail. This is not a book you are likely to nod off to
"Life-the highs and lows"
The final part of the story is a superbly written and narrated. The journey to the alpine ash, chapters 20 to 25, and the revelations of the torture and abuse suffered by Tommo and his mates at the hands of the Japanese solders during the Second World War is just devastating.
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