"Fire Fire" by Eva Sallis. [review]
Dooley, Gillian Mary
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Acantia, the pathological earth-mother in "Fire Fire", is one of fiction’s most blistering portrayals of the harm human beings can do to those closest to them, all the while claiming the high moral ground. As the novel begins, Acantia with her husband A. Hartmut Houdini, a famous German viola player, and their five children move to an eccentric, saltdamp infested house in the hills near a city called Toggenberg – so obviously Adelaide that the pseudonym hardly seems worth while. Fire is a central image. Twice the house is threatened by fire, firstly in the "Ash Wednesday" bushfires in 1983. A second fire destroys the house some years later. But the pervasive atmosphere in the book is cold, claustrophobic and damp.