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  • Little Fires Everywhere

  • By: Celeste Ng
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (4,148 ratings)

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Little Fires Everywhere cover art

Little Fires Everywhere

By: Celeste Ng
Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
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Summary

The New York Times Top 10 Best Seller

The brilliant new novel from the author of the New York Times best seller Everything I Never Told You.

Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colours of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principal is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren - an enigmatic artist and single mother - who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town - and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at an unexpected and devastating cost....

©2017 Celeste Ng (P)2017 Little, Brown Book Group

Critic reviews

"I am loving Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Maybe my favourite novel I've read this year." (John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars)
"Witty, wise and tender. It's a marvel." (Paula Hawkins)
"To say I love this book is an understatement. It's a deep psychological mystery about the power of motherhood, the intensity of teenage love, and the danger of perfection. It moved me to tears." (Reese Witherspoon)

What listeners say about Little Fires Everywhere

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,450
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  • 3 Stars
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Performance
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    2,063
  • 4 Stars
    1,035
  • 3 Stars
    377
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    32

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An evocative and complex portrait of suburbia

A highly readable, wonderfully absorbing tale about motherhood, secrets and lies, set in the affluent, verdant perfection of Shaker Heights - a purpose built suburb on the edge of Cleveland, Ohio.

The plot centres around two families, the well-heeled, comfortably complacent Richardsons - mother, father and four children - and the hard-up Warrens, single mother Mia and her daughter Pearl, tenants of the Richardsons with little known past. In between is a tug-of-love court case surrounding an abandoned Chinese baby adopted by friends of the Richardsons. This sparks high and conflicting emotions in Shaker Heights, forcing the town to take sides between the baby's birth mother, a desperate Chinese immigrant, and the McCulloughs. It leads nearly into the unwanted revealing of well-concealed secrets for both the Warrens and the Richardsons.

The story is skilfully told, weaving various narratives together. It is a character-led tale, well observed. The novel opens at the end, as the Richardsons' perfect home burns to the ground then takes us back to the beginning when the Warrens first arrive. The plot picks up pace as events take their toll and deeds have dire consequences. Lives begin to unravel and skeletons are revealed, and perfection of the family structure splits apart. It is a multifaceted novel full of interesting dimensions.

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33 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Average

It’s an alright read, but it is a little self indulgent in places. All the characters felt faceless, vague and often unbelievable. And their world is hard to get lost in. Mostly I didn’t really care that much about anyone. Considering the good reviews I’d seen, I felt disappointed overall.

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20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • AM
  • 12-11-19

Simpering, Boring, Tepid

Couldn't finish this. Totally unconvincing in every way, hokey, cutesy, unbelievable, humourless, impossible to tell between the characters who all speak in the same simpering way, nightmarish reading like someone patronising a small child and complaining at the same time. Absolute hell to be in the car with this.

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16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable

Although the writing is thoughtful with lots of detailed descriptions, it is an absoulute pageturner; I finished it within a couple of days. It's very well written with a cleverly constructed plot which jumps backwards and forwards in time. The characters, although they are 'types', are believable and the book is very good at conveying their different viewpoints. An interesting story about motherhood, difficult life choices and race. Anyone who enjoys reading about complicated families and secrets should give this book a go. From the raving reviews in the press I expected slightly more, but overall I enjoyed it very much. It reminded me of books by Curtis Sittenfeld and Liane Moriarty.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely story

A lovely story of middle class American family life where everything appears perfect but is far from. If you like Liane Moriaty style of writing then this is for you .

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An ambitious and tender novel - not a thriller!

'Little Fires Everywhere' is a straight-up thriller...' says the Sunday Times quote on Amazon. No, it isn't! From the cover and title I thought this was going to be a psychological thriller, too, and it opens with a house burning down, so it's an easy mistake to make. But whilst it is a page-turner, for sure, it's quite possible (thank goodness) for a novel to be unputdownable without murders and mayhem. 'Little Fires Everywhere' is better pigeon-holed (if it's pigeon holes you're after) as a character-driven novel which focuses on two sets of people - a wealthy family and an artist and her daughter - and explores how they impact one another’s lives. Set against the backdrop of the perfect American suburb, it's well written and structured, rich with detail and a diverse cast of characters, held together by an omniscient narrator.

It explores race, culture and creativity, teen angst, love and family ties, but for me the overarching theme was motherhood - others will disagree I'm sure, which only goes to show we all read and hear stories differently. One thing I particularly liked was the portrayal of Mia, a fine art photographer - whereas sometimes artists in novels and films are portrayed unconvincingly (the same is true of musicians - I've yet to see a Sherlock actually play the violin) - the descriptions of her work were so vivid I felt I could see her work spread before me.

In the middle the narration sags a touch, but what shines throughout is a quiet and subtle sense of morality, and having just devoured a psych thriller that started well but got sillier and sillier, it was a wonderful antidote to listen to a novel that comes together brilliantly and where the end was satisfying and true to all the characters involved.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Average. Became much better in the last quarter.

I personally found this book overly descriptive. At times, in the beginning, it felt like a bit of a chore getting through the chapters. In the last quarter of the book, however, it became more of a page turner because lot happened. I actually think the planned t.v. show will be better than the book, as it will move quicker.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One not to miss

A wonderful story of sadness, adolescence, love, fear and courage. So beautifully and delicately written. I enjoyed how the story urges the reader to realise that life is not right or wrong but extremely complicated. The characters seem to represent a different emotional type and Mia’s pictures help them understand themselves. I will be recommending this book to many people.

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book and performance but

but too many editing mistakes!! you can do better than that audible. it takes away from the great narration

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Most enjoyable.

Likeable characters, good storyline, well written and a very enjoyable "listen" . No hesitation in recommending this book.

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3 people found this helpful