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The Great Fire is Shirley Hazzard's first vel since The Transit of Venus, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981. The conflagration of her title is the Second World War. In war-torn Asia and stricken Europe, men and women, still young but veterans of harsh experience, must reinvent their lives and expectations, and learn, from their past, to dream again. Some will fulfill their destinies, others will falter. At the centre of the story, a brave and brilliant soldier finds that survival and worldly achievement are t eugh. His counterpart, a young girl living in Occupied Japan and tending her dying brother, falls in love, and in the process discovers herself. In the looming shadow of world enmities resumed, and of Asia's coming centrality in world affairs, a man and a woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, struggling to reclaim their humanity.
Shirley Hazzard is the author of Greene on Capri, a memoir of Graham Greene, and several works of fiction, including The Evening of The Holiday, The Bay of Noon, and The Transit of Venus, winner of the 1981 National Book Critics' Circle Award. She lives in New York City and Capri.
Shortlisted for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2005 and Orange Prize 2004. Long-listed for Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2004.