An intimate early novel from James A. Michener, now remembered as the beloved master of the historical epic, The Fires of Spring unfolds with the bittersweet drama of a boy's perilous journey into manhood.
David Harper is an orphan, seemingly doomed to loneliness and poverty. As an adolescent con artist and petty thief, David spends his days grifting at an amusement park, the place where he first learns about women and the mysteries of love. Soon he discovers that his longing to embrace the world is stronger than the harsh realities that constrain him. Featuring autobiographical touches from Michener's own life story, The Fires of Spring is more than a novel: It's a rich slice of American life, brimming with wisdom, longing, and compassion.
"Michener is a gifted storyteller." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A warm-hearted, readable story, crammed with lively incident and remarkable characters." (The Atlantic)
"Heartfelt.... Immensely readable.... Michener is a born writer." (The New York Times)
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Not Your Typical Michener Story
This one didn't begin with dinosaurs and land bridges connecting continents, instead it was a novel of a boy growing up as an orphan in a poor house and falling in and out of love as he grew up. He struggled with being good vs getting ahead but the women he fell for always seemed to set him back. I would classify it as a coming of age book and, maybe it's because I'm a dad now with kids his age, but I kept wanting to strangle David for some of his bone headed choices. But I guess we learn from the good and bad choices we make throughout our lives. I appreciate Michener's writing and was looking for something from him that wasn't so vastly sweeping. That is what I found in the Fires of Spring.