by Julie HaleJuly, 2004
The Great Fire
Hazzard's first work of fiction in more than 20 years won the National Book Award and was a Today Show Book Club pick. Set in Japan in 1947, this unforgettable novel tells the story of two young men trying to get on with their lives in a world forever altered by war. Aldred Leith, 32-year-old war hero and son of a famous novelist, travels to a small town near Hiroshima to conduct research for a book on the aftermath of the bomb. Meanwhile, Aldred's friend Peter Exley, an art historian and war veteran, interrogates war criminals in Hong Kong, fighting the singular emptiness that seems to haunt every young character in the book. The intertwining of the characters' lives, the ways in which they struggle to find a sense of purpose in the midst of catastrophe, make this a wonderfully illuminating account of a definitive era in history. A reading group guide is available in print and online at www.picadorusa.com.