Playing with Matches: Book summary and reviews of Playing with Matches by Carolyn Wall

Playing with Matches

A Novel

By Carolyn Wall

Playing with Matches
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

When I felt truly lost - which was most of the time - I went out to the narrow lot and sat down in the weeds. From there I could observe both houses. After all, I had two eyes, didn't I? Two nostrils, two arms, two knobby knees. The trouble was, I had only one heart.

Growing up in False River, Mississippi, Clea Shine learned early that a small town is no place for big secrets. Having fled years ago in the wake of a tragedy and now settled with a family of her own, she faces a turning point in her marriage and seeks refuge in the one place she vowed never to return.

Clea's homecoming is bittersweet. Reunited with Jerusha Lovemore, the kindly neighbor who raised her, Clea gains a sense of love and comfort, but still cannot escape the ghosts of her past: the abandonment by her disreputable mother, her constant search for belonging, the truth behind that fateful night from long ago. Once outspoken and impulsive, Clea now seeks only redemption and peace of mind. And as a hurricane threatens to hit False River, everything she has tried to forget may finally be exposed once and for all.

A mesmerizing and poignant work by a master of the Southern novel, Playing with Matches is a stunning tale of guilt, forgiveness, and the enduring bonds of family.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Wall's talent and empathy are evident in this story of learning to forgive." - Publishers Weekly

"An introspective novel about personal redemption set in the modern South; best for readers of literary fiction." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Carolyn Wall Author Biography

Now a full-time novelist, Carolyn Wall worked for twenty years as a freelance writer, serving as Fiction Editor for Byline magazine and Senior Staff Writer for the award-winning Persimmon Hill magazine. She lectures on university campuses and in conference centers across the country, conducting intense workshops in Fiction and Novel Writing and Journaling. She has taught writing students for twenty-five years and is known for motivating writers everywhere.

In 1995 she wrote for and edited the book Braced Against the Wind, the only literary history of the bombing of Oklahoma City. In 1998, the U.S. Department of the Interior awarded her a writing residency at Devils Tower, Wyoming. She is one of two writers in a five-state region to have received the Crème-de-la-Crème award ...

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