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Where There Was Fire

"Set in Costa Rica, this lushly-told story radiates magic realist wonder as it explores family secrets, generational trauma, corporate corruption and colonialism."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Spanning 27 years, Where There Was Fire — John Manuel Arias’ Costa Rica-set debut — tells the stirring story of a mother and daughter’s movement through tragedy, loss and estrangement to a sense of reconciliation. Underpinned by the corrupt practices of colonial companies, and glowing with magic realist elements, it’s a poetic, thought-provoking novel that also packs political punch.

In 1968, a fire at the American Fruit Company’s most profitable banana plantation also set Teresa’s family alight, changing its course in profound, irrevocable ways. After suffering terrible loss through death and the disappearance of her husband, Teresa moved to America, leaving her young daughters in the care of friends for some years.

27 years on, we meet one of her daughters, Lyra, who’s estranged from Teresa as the latter approaches her sixtieth birthday. At the same time, Lyra longs to know what really happened on the fatefull night of the fire. Mystery, secrets and a sense of ancestral spirits simmer and sway as corrupt cover-ups come to light, as the two women wrestle with truths, forgiveness, grief and finding ways to heal.

Joanne Owen

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Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
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