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A Fire Story

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Early morning on Monday, October 9, 2017, wildfires burned through Northern California, resulting in 44 fatalities. In addition, 6,200 homes and 8,900 structures and were destroyed. Author Brian Fies’s firsthand account of this tragic event is an honest, unflinching depiction of his personal experiences, including losing his house and every possession he and his wife had t ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Harry N. Abrams
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4.20  · 
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 ·  254 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Fire Story by Brian Fies is a 2019 Harry N. Abrams publication.

This graphic novel depicts Brian Fies’ personal experiences when he lost his home during the 2017 Northern California wildfires.

His Webcomic and subsequent graphic novel has been a cathartic journey as he chronicles the various emotions he and his family felt, in the process of moving forward after such an incredibly difficult loss. He also adds others personal stories into the novel, adding even more poignancy to the devastation
David Schaafsma
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California in mid-October 2017 burned more than 36,000 acres and destroyed more than 5,000 structures and the Fies family home was one of them.

Brian Fies is a science writer and cartoonist whose works Mom’s Cancer (2005) and Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow (2009) I don’t much love, though his first one won a lot of awards. The issue: I’m not a fan of his art, kind of flat and stodgy and cartoony all at once, with rare backgrounds. I had pretty low expecta
I won this on Fantasy Literature. com! A very special Thank you to the author Brian Fies!

I don't read a lot of Graphic Novels, A Fire Story is I believe the 4th Graphic Novel I've read. The first 3 were the March series which is a non fiction Graphic Novel about the life of civil rights icon and U.S. Congressman John Lewis. I haven't read a fiction Graphic Novel yet but at some point I hope too.

I hadn't planned on reading A Fire Story just yet but last week I fell into a reading slump. I didn't
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, edelweiss
Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and hopeful. A narrative tale about the 2017 Northern California wildfires told by an artist who lost his home in the fire. Fies really draws you in with his retelling of what happened to his house and the struggle to find a new place to live. I think that's one of the things those of us who have never lived through this kind of tragedy forget. This will affect them for years to come. They have to find an immediate place to live and even simple things such as clothe ...more
Lisa Wolf
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. If you're looking for a powerful graphic novel to read, this is the one.

The 2017 fires in Northern California were absolutely devastating. I live in San Francisco, and while the fires themselves never came close to our city, the air was full of smoke for weeks -- schools ending up closing, people were warned to stay inside and to wear masks while outside, and everyone had headaches and coughs from the lousy air quality. But of course, this is nothing compared to the suffering of those who p
I live in earthquake and fire country. I have lived through three major earthquakes. I have not, as yet, had to live through a fire storm.

I thought, because i read Brian's original post, that he made during the firestorms of Santa Rosa, in 2017, that I would have read all he had to say. I wanted to read this full book, to see if there was more. I started reading it, when I should have been working, and could not put it down.

It is raw, it is in the moment, it is very moving.

This is a view of esca
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
"I inhaled my neighbors' lives"

I have lived through a few things. I have been robbed, my house has caught fire (twice), and I very nearly floated my car in a flash flood. I had to drive on the wrong side of the road and got swept sideways. I have not yet, thankfully, lived through a firestorm and the aftermath. Brian Fies has, however. A Fire Story is a memoir of the experience, pain, fear, regret, and most importantly...hope. His family lost everything. Everything...from pencil to pillar when t
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am too close to the incidents of this book to be unbiased about it. The 2017 California fires didn't take my home, but came within less than 10 miles or so of us. I had a friend who had been evacuated staying on my couch, and a go-bag packed on my floor for a week. I had met the author, Brian Fies, before the fires and I read his original comic online the day he posted it. If you want to know more about this natural disaster, I highly recommend this book. It's clear, direct, and honest. There ...more
Bryony Nelson
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
A Fire Story was a heartbreaking and touching read complete with real photographs from the damage and aftermath, as well as accounts of the fire and people's lives afterwards from the authors neighbours and friends. The illustrations were fantastic and the narrative was really well done and felt like it didn't leave any details out. I thought this was very well done and despite the dreadful circumstances, I enjoyed reading this.
Diane Hernandez
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Heartfelt memoir about losing your home in the worst wildfire in decades. A Fire Story is sad but ultimately uplifting.

Multiple fires merged into a Northern California firestorm of epic proportions. The resulting burn area was the size of 15 Manhattans. Entire neighborhoods burned to the ground overnight. Warnings were mishandled so many survivors had virtually no time to take any belongings. Others didn’t escape in time.

The author, a graphic memoirist, uses his craft to document, in real time,
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First off, thank you to Abrams Books for my ARC of this wonderful book.

This was my first time reading a graphic novel. While I did not get the full color experience of the final print, I still felt the power of the words and drawings throughout my uncorrected proof.

I was deeply touched by this profound look at the effect of the wildfires and the impact of loss of Brian Fies and his family. I feel that the author did an excellent job demonstrating the chaos, confusion, and overwhelming grief of t
Hayley Stone
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A moving depiction of the Tubbs Fire that devastated parts of Northern California, particularly the city of Santa Rosa. Although I've not lived in Santa Rosa for more than a decade, having spent much of my childhood there, I still tend to think of it as my hometown. I remember reading about the wildfire as it was happening, unable to process how fast the fire was moving, and how many people it was leaving homeless in its wake.

With that said, this webcomic-turned-graphic novel does a fine job of
This was so moving and so incredibly gripping. Fies' tells of his experience during one of the California wildfires of 2017: a fire that obliterated his home. It's emotional and personal, but it also incorporates general fire information and other people's stories - so it has journalistic aspects. If you enjoy graphic memoirs, you should definitely give this one a go.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A heartbreaking, but also hopeful, memoir of losing all of your physical possessions and having to start over from literally nothing. Based on a short webcomic Fies did in the days immediately following the loss of his home in the wildfires that devastated Northern California in 2017 and interspersed with the stories of other victims, A Fire Story is a snapshot of a time, a place, a community but it is also a universal story of human fear, frustration and fortitude in the face of disaster.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is powerful. I absolutely can't imagine having been in Brian's shoes (or any of the other thousands of people affected), but Brian tells this story as effectively as if he's right in front of you reenacting. You feel it in your bones. He's truly shown his mastery of memoir and the comic medium with A Fire Story. This story leaps off the page. When he mentions the heat of the flames, you may feel your cheeks redden. Picture a still image of people, facial expressions of concern. The orange s ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
On October 9, 2017 Brian Fies and his wife fled their house after wildfires ripped through their Northern California neighborhood. The fire consumed 8,900 buildings, including 6,200 homes, and killed 44 people through eight counties. The Fies fled with a few belongings and their dog and cat figuring they'll return. To his shock, the fire destroyed their home losing everything. The graphic book chronicles their loss and the steps taken to rebuild their lives. What does it feel like to have lost n ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sienna by: Fire
Totally biased. This fire story began for me the morning after, on the Mendocino Coast, when the sunset color in the western sky made my heart sink. I followed many stories closely, including Fies's original piece, & especially the stories of my farmers & my bookmobile drivers in Redwood Valley. The pages in this book were blurry as I read & remembered. Almost like I was there. But I wasn't there, certainly not for the months, years, of recovery that Fies portrays with such honesty & ...more
Ron Turner
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
A graphic memoir that puts a human face on what it's like to lose your home in a wildfire. You wake up in the middle of the night to no power and the smell of smoke. At first you think the problem is down the road but then all of a sudden you're barely escaping with your life because EVERYTHING is on fire at once.
ARC provided by Abrams ComicArts via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.
Jonathan Maas
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very good!
Matthew Noe
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An absolute must have for any comics collection
Apr 07, 2019 added it
Made me cry more than once
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who lives in Sonoma County can tell you a story about how the Santa Rosa fires affected them. You either lost your home or you knew someone who did. The county was in it together, helping as they could, connecting with others, and banding as one while we all healed from something this traumatic. Brian Fies didn’t just tell his story, he told all of our story. From the ashes of his own loss, he beautifully portrayed what’s hard to put into words - how it feels to lose everything. I cried a ...more
Title: A Fire Story
Author: Brian Fies
Format: ARC (Goodreads Giveaway)

[ Enjoyed ] Yes.
[ Last Read ] Finished today.
[ Reread ] Unlikely.

[ Cover Lust ] No.
[ Intriguing Title ] No.
[ Interesting Premise/Plot ] Not really. (Memoirs aren't my thing.)
[ Preview Impressions ] N/A

[ Kept My Attention ] Yes.
[ Got Bored / Mind Wandering ] No.
[ Skimmed/Skipped Scenes/Chapters ] No.
[ Reread Past Scenes For Fun ] No.
[ Reread Past Scenes Cause My Memory Sucks To Clear Confusion ] No.

[ Stayed Up Late ] No.
[ Took a
Joseph R.
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brian Fies was one of the countless victims of the wildfires that hit Northern California is October 2017. He is a cartoonist and immediately began drawing his experience and publishing it on the web. That work became a minor hit and has been expanded into a full-length graphic novel. He starts with waking up to the smell of smoke in the early hours of October 9. He and his wife grabbed a few thing when the evacuation was called. They assumed they'd come back in a couple of hours, at most a coup ...more
Eleanor Luhar
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is similar to The Best We Could Do in that it is both a series of comics and a memoir. It's the story of the Californian fire, and how it affected Brian Fies and his wife's lives.

Fies begins by illustrating how the couple awoke on the night of the fire, and how they began to frantically yet methodically pack up their belongings. He details the escape, the bewilderment they felt and the huge sense of loss. Later, he really emphasises how much a person grieves for the loss of their home and b
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you want to understand what the Tubbs fire (or any of the other California wildfires) were like, read this graphic memoir. It brilliantly captured the welter of emotions people experienced in the aftermath of this catastrophe. The disbelief, the utter devastation, the sense of dislocation, is very well described in his text and drawings. Besides the broad strokes of the devastation, the stories about previously mundane things are also very poignant. The remaining mementos - like the pair of s ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shoutout to Abrams Publishing for generously providing me with the ARC. Goodreads Giveaways did not disappoint this time! When I first read the Webcomic in 2017, I was floored by Fies' ability to take something traumatic and make it accessible. This graphic novel is no different. Fies' work takes a journalistic approach and weaves the stories of his neighbors and friends into the mix, while still remaining deeply personal and shell-shocked. This isn't a colorful or romantic read - it is dark, ap ...more
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 2017, an autumn fire swept through Sonoma county and 350 square miles of California, wiping out over 5,000 buildings. Author and artist Brian Fies and his wife left their home with their pets, a change of clothing and little else. When he returned later that same day, their much-loved family home was ashes. He writes about sifting through the remains, shopping for new belongings, and all of the ways that losing a home hurts in thousands of little cuts.

This story was really well drawn and wel
Katya Kazbek
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting, exhaustive, and impactful read on the horrors of the wildfires that have been ravaging California. I read this on the plane to Los Angeles, and then, while on the trip across the region, kept seeing singed branches, burned out territories, and, the saddest of all, plots of land, where everything had burned to the ground, just like Fies's own plot. It was really important and humanizing to be able to learn about the way the situation impacted his family and those of the people he ...more
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Brian Fies is a science writer, illustrator, and cartoonist whose widely acclaimed first graphic novel, Mom's Cancer, won the 2005 Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic (the first web comic to win the award and inaugurate this new category), the Lulu Blooker Prize for Best Comic, the Harvey Award for Best New Talent, and the German Youth Literature Prize, among other awards and recognition. He lives ...more
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