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Signal Fires: A novel av Dani Shapiro
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Signal Fires: A novel (urspr publ 2022; utgåvan 2022)

av Dani Shapiro (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3892266,731 (3.99)16
Fiction. Literature. HTML:A gripping new novel (People) from the best-selling author of Inheritance: On a  summer night in 1985, three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything changes.
"A haunting, moving, and propulsive exploration of family secrets. Meg Wolitzer
ONE OF MOST EAGERLY ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR: L.A. Times, TIME, Vanity Fair, LitHub, BookPage, Library Journal, The Millions

Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrivea young couple expecting a baby boyit is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wifes decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.
In Dani Shapiros first work of fiction in fifteen years, she returns to the form that launched her career, with a riveting, deeply felt novel that examines the ties that bind families togetherand the secrets that can break them apart. Signal Fires is a work of haunting beauty by a masterly storyteller.
… (mer)
Medlem:ShepyBooks
Titel:Signal Fires: A novel
Författare:Dani Shapiro (Författare)
Info:Knopf (2022), 240 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:***
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Signal Fires av Dani Shapiro (2022)

Senast inlagd avteawalifecarevillage, privat bibliotek, CJForrest, CECUser1, pmrehn, Sandee88, ccarp, kfitz, p2m
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» Se även 16 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 21 (nästa | visa alla)
Auto accident--older sister takes responsibility because she encouraged her younger brother to drive without a license. Their father pulls the girl out of the car but shouldn't have done so as her neck is broken and he's a doctor. Buried family secrets for years. A page turner but ultimately strains credibilility with all the coincidences. ( )
  flashflood42 | May 5, 2024 |
A family is torn apart by decisions made when their teen children are involved in a car crash which kills another teen. The father, Ben, is a doctor, who pulls the girl from the wreck, when he shouldn't have moved her. She later dies in the hospital. They never discuss this. Theo and Sarah, and the mom, Mimi, are all changed by this one event and their lives are a series of regrets.
New neighbors move in, and Ben assists in the birth of their child, Waldo, who is born premature, and at home. The parents' marriage is rocky and Waldo is a genius. Mimi and Waldo meet later when Mimi has Alzheimers and is wandering and Waldo has run away. That night also bonds Waldo to Ben.
A sad commentary on how one event/error in judgment can affect us for our entire lives. ( )
  rmarcin | Mar 5, 2024 |
Admit this novel disappointed me. It's not a bad book (Shapiro's a competent storyteller), but I feel like the blurbs and reviews significantly misrepresent and oversell the nature of the story. What you get is a lot less than what you are led to expect.

For instance, the summary on the back cover of the book promises a tale of two families whose lives/fates become intertwined in some profound way, perhaps having to do with the secrets that each family is keeping - or so the text darkly hints. Instead, Shapiro gives us two families that, apart from living across the street from each other, barely interact; and a single secret, related to a tragic accident, that ends up contributing little to the story. (The accidental itself is meaningful; the lie related to the accident, not so much.)

The summary likewise promises "a magical story ... where stars collapse and stories collide." Instead, the novel delivers a cast of rather ordinary people facing a host of rather ordinary problems: spouses battling Alzheimer's, neurodivergent children, inferiority complexes, poor parenting, survivor guilt. The characters are largely static and not entirely credible: one set of parents is a little too perfect, the other set of parents a little too awful, and all the children are endowed with improbable giftedness (a producer of award winning films, a famous chef, a brilliant astrophysicist). The lives of the characters wax and wane in ways that are more or less recognizable, but certainly nothing one would describe as "magical."

The summary suggests that astrophysics will serve as a metaphor for human interconnection, but I don't feel like Shapiro makes this work either. Telling the story out of sequence (the chapters hop through time) is an interesting gimmick, but not nearly enough to establish that "perhaps time is not a continuum, but rather, past, present and future are always and forever unspooling." And while it's technically true that we are all of us comprised of star stuff (insofar as all atoms are born from stars), that's hardly solid ground for asserting that "Perhaps each [star] is what remains of every soul who has ever lived." Souls, friendship, love, guilt, joy ... these are all things that transcend periodic tables and the laws of physics.

Finally, I'm at a loss to understand why this won the National Jewish Book Award, as neither Jewish spirituality, tradition, nor identity influence the tale in any meaningful way. Honestly, besides a few references to bar mitzvahs and sitting shiva, the families could be Rastafarians for all it matters to the plot or character development.

I've read some other reviews that suggest that this may be one of Shapiro's weaker efforts. I've also read that this is her first novel in 15yrs. Perhaps the reviewers who heaped praises on this are considering her collected works rather than this outing in particular? ( )
  Dorritt | Feb 1, 2024 |
Ultimately I worry this is the weakest of Shapiro's novels which generally I've really liked. She's got a great way with words and atmosphere. What failed for me in this novel was the plethora of characters who basically all make the same mistakes with the same dialogue. Too bad. ( )
  sparemethecensor | Nov 17, 2023 |
This is the story of two families who lived across the street from each other for many years. Benjamin, a doctor, and his wife Mimi, are older. In 1985, their teenage children Sarah and Theo are involved in a life-changing event which results in the death of another teenager. Some years later, the Shankmans move in across the street, and in 1999 their son Waldo is born.

The novel is told non-chronologically, and focuses on certain years in which pivotal events affecting one or both of the families occur. The novel opens in 2010, on the night before Ben is moving away. On that same night, Waldo runs away. Over the years, there is a strange interconnection between what is happening in the lives of the members of the two families. We watch Sarah and Theo develop from teenagers to older middle-aged adults, Ben and Mimi age, and even Waldo grow up to adulthood over the course of the novel.

I actually liked the way the story is told non-chronologically, so that sometimes we are mystified and later entries clarify things. The author does a good job of peeling away layers as she tells the story. However, there were several things that just did not ring true for me. For example, after Sarah and Theo cause the death of another teenager, there are no consequences for them. Even beyond this, their parents, who are intelligent and responsible decide that the incident will never be spoken of again. The teens are not afforded counseling or therapy to deal with issues that may arise from guilt or grief. (The incident clearly involved at least potential criminal negligence). Another example that didn't ring true is that despite Ben's having saved Waldo's mother's life ( he rushed across the street in 1999 to deliver Waldo who was being born in an emergency sort of way), the families seem to thereafter ignore each other for the most part. Waldo didn't even know the story of his birth. How could this be? When I learned later in the book of this connection between Waldo and Ben, I had to go back and reread the opening (the night in 2010 when Ben is moving away and Waldo runs away), when the two meet on the street, and it is written as if neither knows anything at all about the other.

Shapiro is a somewhat prolific author, and this is a very recent book, so although this is the first book by her I have read, and to an extent I enjoyed it, I would have expected more inherent logic in her plot. I liked this enough that I went on to read another book by her, but I did have problems with it.

2 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Aug 16, 2023 |
Visa 1-5 av 21 (nästa | visa alla)
The story opens in 1985. Fifteen-year-old Theo Wilf is driving the family car; his older sister, Sarah, has been drinking; a friend who came along for the ride is killed in a wreck right in front of their house. To protect her brother, Sarah claims she was at the wheel. Surprisingly, considering it gets our attention with this super-plotty device, the book is actually more concerned with character development and metaphysical questions than event-driven storytelling....Wears its philosophical intentions on its sleeve; well-developed characters and their interesting careers seal the deal.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraKirkus Reviews (Oct 18, 2022)
 
For a novel that starts with a crash - literally - Dani Shapiro's 11th book, "Signal Fires," turns out to be a quieter and more philosophical work than its dramatic, tragic opening might suggest.... Gradually, the details of how the tragedy and the secrecy surrounding it shaped, or, more precisely, deformed, the lives of the Wilfs are filled in. The structure of the book affords Shapiro plenty of room to build out her characters’ destinies and inner lives, which she does skillfully and with precise attention to detail. Their careers are a particular pleasure: Theo becomes a celebrity chef, Sarah a successful screenwriter, and each of these worlds is fleshed out with alluring authenticity.... it is fitting that it ends not with how everything turned out but with how everything started — back in 1970, at a moment of near-perfect wholeness for the Wilf family, before life has its way with them. “Signal Fires” doesn’t shy away from loss but seeks to balance grief with grace. Like Waldo’s app, Shapiro’s novel offers the comfort of a view from the stars.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraWashington Post, Marion Winik (betalvägg) (Oct 13, 2022)
 
Shapiro returns after the memoir Inheritance with a beautiful exploration of the connections between two families and the reverberations from a teenager’s lie. In 1985 Avalon, N.Y., 15-year-old Theo Wilf drives his 17-year-old sister Sarah and her friend Misty home after a night of partying. After he accidentally drops the car lighter down his shirt, he crashes the car into the tree in front of their house. Ben, Theo and Sarah’s surgeon father, rushes to save Misty’s life, but fails, and in an impulsive decision, Sarah tells Ben that she was driving....Shapiro imagines in luminous prose how each of the characters’ lives might have gone if things had turned out differently. It’s an intriguing meditation.
tillagd av Lemeritus | ändraPublisher's Weekly (Jul 21, 2022)
 
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For if the earth is a camp and the sea
an ossuary of souls, light your signal fires
Wherever you find yourselves.
Come the morning, launch your boats. 

                CAROLYN FORCHÉ
                 FROM “MOURNING”
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This book is for Jacob
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And it’s nothing, really nothing, or ought to be nothing, as he leans his head forward to press the tip of his cigarette to the car’s lighter.
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There are very few lines, once crossed, that define you forever. If you have children, you are a mother. If you kill someone, you are a murderer. If you aid and abet, you are an accomplice. If you fuck someone other than your husband, you are an adulterer. She is all these things.
Life is just like a series of accidents, one piled on top of the next like one of those huge highway crashes you sometimes read about, one jackknifed tractor trailer in the fog, and all of a sudden there’s a twenty-seven-car pileup. If he hadn’t married Alice, he wouldn’t’t now be a widower walking in his mask along Maine Street in Sarasota. He would have had a whole other life. A whole other story. A different wife. A different suburb. A different kid or two or three.
Grief comes in waves. Like the swells crashing against the rocks, it gathers force and breaks when you least expect it.
𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒔𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒂 𝒇𝒆𝒘 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒔 𝒕𝒐 𝒂 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆, 𝒂 𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒇𝒖𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒓𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝒔𝒌𝒚. 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒔. 𝑨 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒔𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒐𝒇𝒇 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉𝒒𝒖𝒂𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆. 𝑨 𝒇𝒂𝒖𝒍𝒕 𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒆𝒑𝒆𝒏𝒔. 𝑨 𝒘𝒊𝒓𝒆 𝒈𝒆𝒕𝒔 𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒑𝒑𝒆𝒅.
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Fiction. Literature. HTML:A gripping new novel (People) from the best-selling author of Inheritance: On a  summer night in 1985, three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything changes.
"A haunting, moving, and propulsive exploration of family secrets. Meg Wolitzer
ONE OF MOST EAGERLY ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF THE YEAR: L.A. Times, TIME, Vanity Fair, LitHub, BookPage, Library Journal, The Millions

Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.
On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrivea young couple expecting a baby boyit is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wifes decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.
In Dani Shapiros first work of fiction in fifteen years, she returns to the form that launched her career, with a riveting, deeply felt novel that examines the ties that bind families togetherand the secrets that can break them apart. Signal Fires is a work of haunting beauty by a masterly storyteller.

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