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The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
The hero of The Great Fire is Aldred Leith, who in 1947 is a 32-year old decorated English war veteran. After traveling through China, his next assignment is near Hiroshima. There he meets a hostile and boorish Australian couple, the Driscolls, and their 17-year old daughter, Helen. Aldred and Helen fall in love, earning the animosity of her parents, but they're soon separated as Aldred must return to England and the Driscolls leave for New Zealand. Set against the aftermath of the violence of World War II (Aldred's best friend investigates war criminals) and the unfolding of the Cold War, Shirley Hazzard's novel is a love story pursued across time and continents. The Great Fire has received many glowing reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle says, "Hazzard's moving, generous story paints love as the greatest rescuer of all -- as apt today in our troubling, troubled world as it was 55 years ago."
Winner of the 2003 National Book Award for fiction