How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball

This was incredibly engaging in a way I wasn’t sure was possible in a stream of consciousness novel about a troubled teen. The character is so intelligent, so fully formed, so eminently credible. I don’t know how a late-30s man could so convincingly do this, without judgment, without melodrama. Lucia Stanton. So sad, so vivid.

She’s incredibly intelligent, and has such a consistent voice, self-assured in a way that’s rather startling. There is a plot, although a somewhat loose one, enough to keep the pages turning but the focus is still on the interior. I know a book is well executed when I react to the sadness of what has happened to a person, more than I react to it as a piece of writing.

So sad:

We’re just running down a fucking slope carrying these little flags, and one by one we get shot and we slump and our little flags are in the mud and no one picks them up. No one is going to keep running with your flag.

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