Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed Ng’s first novel so I was really excited to dig into her new novel. And this one did not disappoint! Her writing is beautiful, her story just grabbed me and didn’t let go. The weaving together of the elements of the story and the characters was so well done. It can be challenging to make so many pieces and parts come together effectively while also maintaining the in depth exploration of the characters. Ng is able to do this seamlessly in this novel. One of my favorite aspects of this book (and her earlier book) is the exploration of motherhood and daughterhood. That relationship is really difficult to write about in a way that feels real and honest. But, Ng is able to do so just beautifully. I love how the title plays out in the story and how beautifully the story threads weave in and out and come together in the end. I love how Ng is able to capture human behavior in all its complexity in this book. She is able to show the complex emotions that are at play in this particular story. The pulling apart of the ‘perfect’ family and it’s alignment with the other pieces of the story was just beautifully done. Ng’s writing just mesmerized me in places. She really is a master at descriptive writing. The adoption component of the story was interesting to me – and made me think a great deal about nature versus nurture. The push and pull between culture, biology, and socioeconomics was explored so deftly in this novel. The only issue I had with the book was the pacing – it did feel like it took forever to get to the end of the book. It wasn’t a ‘fly by’ sort of novel. It felt quite slow and immersive. It worked for me but I can see how it might not work for some readers. Ultimately, this story explores so many interesting themes – motherhood, art, love, loss, family dynamics, parenting, siblinghood, and more. Pulling it together must have been challenging but Ng did it … and did it expertly! Highly recommend this one … it’s really worth the praise that I’m seeing it get in the book world.