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 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!
Bryce has become one of my favorite authors and have listened to many of his books. I still feel that The Power of One is his best - but this one is close. Great story line with some laugh out loud moments - especially with Mole's mother Nancy. And of course the narrator is marvelous - his flawless performance of the accents of the different characters really makes the performance an A+.
The book is typical of Courtenay. He can tell a story. Yes his characters are larger than life and the melodrama is at times a bit thick but still, he pulls it off. There is to me always a bit of an overly romantic quality to his books that would be very hard to take if it wasn't for his skill as a writer. So I know that what I am listening to is at times way over the top and that for one as cynical and jaded as I am this is not a typical choice of book but I enjoyed it immensely..
A lot of the credit for this belongs to the narrator. Bower is as good as it gets.
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