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The Arsonist
One of our most elegant and engrossing novelists at her inimitable best.
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Love story or mystery?

Created: 07/27/14

Replies: 19

Posted Jul. 27, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 506

Expert

Love story or mystery?

Is this a love story or a mystery?


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 63

Expert

RE: Love story or mystery?

Mostly a love story hong on the structural Skelton of a mystery. The solution on the mystery is very anticlimactic, and the more fires there are, the less attention they seem to receive.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
beckyh

Join Date: 05/08/11

Posts: 41

RE: Love story or mystery?

Well, certainly not a mystery. The mystery of who set the fires and why was never answered. So, love story, yes, but both love stories (Frankie and Bud: and Sylvia and Alfie) were both sad and unresolved. Frankie and Bud couldn't - or wouldn't -- commit. Sylvia and Alfie seemed to have never had a relationship, or if they did, it was dying but wouldn't breathe its last.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
marianf

Join Date: 07/28/14

Posts: 4

RE: Love story or mystery?

Not much of a mystery... the reader doesn't much care about who set the fires. It's all about the couples and their unique relationships.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynnes

Join Date: 10/17/11

Posts: 4

RE: Love story or mystery?

Several of the main characters seem to love themselves and their freedom more than their " love interests". The mystery was not developed enough to sustain my curiosity.


Posted Jul. 28, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sylviag

Join Date: 03/25/13

Posts: 12

RE: Love story or mystery?

The fires were the background that illuminated the relationships. I would definitely not call it a mystery, but I also think love story is too reductive. It's a story of relationships..all kinds.


Posted Jul. 29, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nancyl

Join Date: 04/21/14

Posts: 3

RE: Love story or mystery?

Love story veering into the Romance genre in the case of Bud and Frankie. The better love story was Sylvia and Alfie.


Posted Jul. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lisa

Join Date: 06/13/14

Posts: 14

RE: Love story or mystery?

I'm not sure I'd call it either, but there were elements of both. I agree with sylviag: it was a story of all kinds of relationships. The prose was really beautiful, and it reminded me of Alice Munro, who I love.


Posted Jul. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
christinep

Join Date: 07/16/13

Posts: 26

RE: Love story or mystery?

For me, I lean more toward a love story. The mystery was just background to the relationships between the characters. I think sylviag said it perfectly, it "illuminated" the relationships. Also the question of who the arsonist really was never determined. Can it be a mystery if it is not solved?


Posted Jul. 30, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
cynthiad

Join Date: 11/25/12

Posts: 23

RE: Love story or mystery?

I agree with sylviag. Character study is what I saw. And I love them!
Each of the characters (maybe not Tink) seemed very real to me. I ached for Sylvie & Alfie. His mental issues unfortunately reducing each of them from the person they used to be.
Frankie was plainly frustrated. We've all been there!


Posted Jul. 31, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Gwail

Join Date: 02/21/14

Posts: 2

RE: Love story or mystery?

If you love a good mystery novel this isn't the book for you. I felt it just kept falling into a sappy romance tale. I was hoping for a good mystery re "and arsonist".


Posted Jul. 31, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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donnac

Join Date: 03/26/14

Posts: 25

RE: Love story or mystery?

Me too, Gwail. I know Miller is not a mystery writer but the promos seemed to promise more of a mystery or at least more suspense. Not that I didn't enjoy the book. I did. I just am partial to mystery/suspense novels.


Posted Aug. 01, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kenanr

Join Date: 02/20/14

Posts: 8

RE: Love story or mystery?

Neither. Straight up slice of life. The Bud & Frankie story was as unsatisfying as the arson story. Both characters were uninteresting to me and seemed wildly immature given their age and life experience. I think the real story here was Sylvia and Alfie and we really only skimmed the surface of their relationship.


Posted Aug. 03, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 29

RE: Love story or mystery?

Relationship relationship relationship. Conventional yet unsatisfied & passionate but trouble committing. As is often the case how relationships look to others isn't always the was it is.


Posted Aug. 09, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 235

Expert

RE: Love story or mystery?

Just because the mystery was not tidily solved did not disqualify if as a mystery for me and because the love stories did not have happy traditional endings did not disqualify it as a love story for me. I think it was a well written slice of life that portrayed people and places well, kept my interest and stood out to me just because it didn't fit tidily into either bracket.


Posted Aug. 11, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
claudiak

Join Date: 08/11/14

Posts: 2

RE: Love story or mystery?

How's this? The mystery of many love stories!!!!


Posted Aug. 12, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
keizerfire

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 13

RE: Love story or mystery?

It was more love story, or actually life story than it was anything else. This was an odd sort of book. I did enjoy it, but it did feel like the ending fell flat.


Posted Aug. 18, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 64

Expert

RE: Love story or mystery?

Neither. For me it is a novel about human relationships, but not necessarily love. The mystery is so secondary that its solution is left ambiguous. I got the feeling that Miller doesn't care one way or the other who set the fires, they were just a backdrop to the relationship stories.


Posted Aug. 20, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeann

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 42

RE: Love story or mystery?

I agree with others who felt it was a story of relationships. Also, a story of people at turning points in their lives...Bud coming to Pomeroy to live a simpler life; Frankie coming home to make a decision about what to do with her life; Sylvia being put into a care taker role and at the end finding other directions to add to her life; Afie facing the disease that was robbing him of himself.
A mystery? Well, I wondered who the arsonist was throughout the book. But, it wasn't the main part of the book. I didn't feel any suspense about the arsonist- the events were more of a background to the book for me- a framework for the story I suppose. I quickly lost count of the arsons and about lost interest in that part of the book.


Posted Sep. 04, 2014 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Peggy H

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 38

RE: Love story or mystery?

More of a love story than a mystery. The story itself was a mystery as Frankie and her mother struggle in their relationships. Without the fires would Frankie and Bud connect as they did during the time frame of a summer?


Pegh

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