Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for...Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone: A Novel

I recently read Your House is on Fire, Your Children All Gone: A Novel by Stefan Kiesbye. I didn't like it, and yet, I'm surprised by some of the negative reviews I read on Amazon. I didn't like it, but I want to read it again. It's that kind of book. It leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth and a desire to run away from what it's telling you.

It's a book about evil and what it means to be human, to be part of a group, to be a child, a parent. It brings up questions of love, of greed, of sacrifice and the answers aren't pretty. The problem is, the answers are also very real and plausible.

Kiesbye's writing is enchanting. It's simple and straightforward, yet I found myself re-reading passages after realizing I missed a deeper meaning. The story details the relationship of four residents of Hemmersmoor, a small village in Germany. The setting is post-war Germany and it calls up some uncomfortable issues facing the generation of Germans growing up in a post-Nazi world. I liked this part of the book, having gone to school myself in Germany during the 1970s and catching a glimpse of these things. I found Kiesbye's references to the supernatural unique, complex and refreshing. This is not a fun read, but it's also not a book I can ignore. I'll read it again before I decide what I really think of it. Maybe this time I'll enjoy it.


  1. I have never heard of this book. Despite the criticism, the plot and period sounds interesting.

  2. Sounds like an interesting read. I'll have to go read some more reviews on it before I decide whether it's my kind of book, though!
    Thanks for visiting my blog and congrats on getting through A-Z!

  3. Sharon,
    Yes, it was interesting! It's definitely not a boring book!


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