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After the Fire

Cover of After the Fire

After the Fire

A Novel
by Jane Rule

Five women at critical crossroads in their lives come together in this gem of a novel set on an island off the coast of Vancouver  After the Fire introduces a quintet of very different women as they struggle with abandonment, loss, and new beginnings—both together and alone. There is Karen Tasuki, who recently separated from her partner and wonders if she'll ever get used to being alone . . . until she befriends Red, who cleans houses for the island's privileged inhabitants. Miss James is the eccentric Southern spinster born at the turn of the century. Milly Forbes is a woman whose husband went scot free after stealing twenty years of her life. And the sensible Henrietta Hen Hawkins yearns for her absent, ill husband.   On a rural island that they dub a used-wife lot, the five heroines nurture one another as they cope with loneliness, death, and renewed life. Imbued with wit and compassion, After the Fire is a novel about women loving women and women helping women—and the bond that transcends age, race, and even gender.

Five women at critical crossroads in their lives come together in this gem of a novel set on an island off the coast of Vancouver  After the Fire introduces a quintet of very different women as they struggle with abandonment, loss, and new beginnings—both together and alone. There is Karen Tasuki, who recently separated from her partner and wonders if she'll ever get used to being alone . . . until she befriends Red, who cleans houses for the island's privileged inhabitants. Miss James is the eccentric Southern spinster born at the turn of the century. Milly Forbes is a woman whose husband went scot free after stealing twenty years of her life. And the sensible Henrietta Hen Hawkins yearns for her absent, ill husband.   On a rural island that they dub a used-wife lot, the five heroines nurture one another as they cope with loneliness, death, and renewed life. Imbued with wit and compassion, After the Fire is a novel about women loving women and women helping women—and the bond that transcends age, race, and even gender.

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About the Author-
  • Jane Rule (1931-2007) was the author of several novels and essay collections, including the groundbreaking lesbian love storyDesert of the Heart (1964),which was made into the feature film Desert Hearts. She was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2007. Born in New Jersey, Rule moved to Canada in 1956, and lived on Galiano Island, British Columbia, until her death at the age of seventy-six.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 1, 1989
    In this fluid, often witty novel set on a small rural island off the coast of Vancouver, five solitary women at different stages in life learn how to function alone as well as together. Canadian-Japanese Karen, who has left her lesbian lover of eight years, befriends Red, a young woman with an unknown background who cleans houses for three others--acrid Milly, divorced by her husband after a 20-year marriage; Henrietta, whose husband is institutionalized in Vancouver; and Miss James, an eccentric, elderly spinster. Birth, illness and death follow one another, uniting the five independent and incisively drawn protagonists. ``All that time I was trying to teach you how to live alone and really take care of yourself, I was teaching myself, too,'' Henrietta tells Red. The resulting warmth is not saccharine but realistic, as Rule ( Memory Board ) illuminates the vagaries and pain of abandonment and loss, and the fragile joy of new bonds.

  • Katherine V. Forrest, author of Curious Wine

    "[Jane Rule was an] extraordinary writer--perhaps the most significant lesbian fiction writer of the 20th century."

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    Open Road Media
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A Novel
Jane Rule
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