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The Lake on Fire

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  73 ratings  ·  20 reviews
The Lake on Fire is an epic narrative that begins among 19th century Jewish immigrants on a failing Wisconsin farm. Dazzled by lore of the American dream, Chaya and her strange, brilliant, young brother Asher stowaway to Chicago; what they discover there, however, is a Gilded Age as empty a façade as the beautiful Columbian Exposition luring thousands to Lake Michigan’s sh ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Sarabande Books
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Carol Douglas
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have followed Rosellen Brown's career for many years. The Lake on Fire is her first book in 18 years, and I was excited to see it appear. Her books are all unique, incisive stories about characters who struggle with serious problems. They are so well-written that they are hard to put down.

In The Lake on Fire, Brown tells about a Jewish family that migrates with its friends and neighbors to the United States in the late nineteenth century to escape from pogroms. A Jewish refugee agency settles
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I loved this when it started but by the end I was very eager for it to move along and be over! The writing just felt so dense. I liked the characters (particularly Asher, Chaya is a little tiresome) but wish the pacing were better.
Jessica DeLucia
I really want to give this 3.5 stars because it is beautifully written. And hey I love socialism and stories about rich people being terrible and poor people being brave, but I’m sorry it’s boring. Yes i bet Chicago WAS miserable at the turn of the century. The Worlds Fair WAS awesome i read devil in the white city, they covered that. I’m sorry that i thought it was boring. Towards the end i thought something big finally happened and then it was still kind of a letdown. I told my husband the ent ...more
Jill Meyer
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rosellen Brown's new novel, "The Lake on Fire", is an intensely personal story told within the context of a world in turmoil. Set in the 1890's in Chicago, a love affair between the poor Jewish woman Chaya and the wealthy WASP Gregory Stillman, is set during labor unrest and extreme political uncertainty. Brown blends Gregory, Chaya and her young brother, Asher, into the times and comes out on the other side with a tale of both personal determination and societal change.

Chaya and Asher, immigran
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This novel sort of frustrated the hell out of me. In all honesty, I likely wouldn't have finished if not for some odd loyalty to Chicago history being used as the backdrop. And the research here is the best part of it! Brown does a very fine job bringing parts of Gilded Age Chicago to interesting life.

The trouble is that this is a novel, not a history book. As a novel, I just don't think it works. The main character, Chaya, drove me quietly crazy with her boring refusal to be anything but a stic
Lucinda Winslow
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've just finished my friend Rosellen Brown's magnificent new book, The Lake on Fire. It's wonderful. I loved it, not just because my mother taught me that all things Chicago are light-filled, not only because she grew up there during another Depression in the 30's. I also loved it for the language, the gusty, exuberant word music that matches, catches, snatches up the gusto of that 1890's Chicago-land world and these children learning English in a churning polygot immigrant melting pot.

Mercy Sakes
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A poor Jewish girl, bored with her poor immigrant farm status escapes to the city and fortunes beyond. Her little brother, an intelligent and adventuresome sort, sneaks away with her.

Very enjoyable. A bit long-winded, but I believe it was because it stuck to the language structure of the era in which it is captured. Another look at the Chicago World Fair, religion, social structure and Hull House. Enjoyed the journey.
Marc Grossberg
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning tale of a woman's journey to a better life while maintaining her intolerance of the social injustices of her htime

One reason I gave the rating is because there were so many "keepers,"sentences and passages that grabbed me because they articulated truisms in a way I hadn't thought of before. The story is a good one. Ready the NYT review
Jody Haas
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great adventure

A wonderful perspective on immigration and human rights. I loved the characters and story as if it could be my story too
Zoe Zolbrod
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Riveting historical fiction that asks hard questions about complicity, social change, and the limits f familial and romantic love and loyalty.
A vivid depiction of Chicago at the time of the Columbian Exposition with insights into labor issues, but a bit heavy going in terms of narrative and lacking in plot.
Sharon McNeil
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well- written historical novel about Chicago.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well-written story that captures the struggles of Chicago’s working class and the glories of the Columbian exposition.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not on fire......

Though I loved the first half of this novel, the ending was weak and left little resolution as to Chaya’s life, Asher, and their family. A big disappointment....
Lydia M.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Half step short of soporific.
Rachel Devries
Not up to snuff-don't bother.
Stevo Brock
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a Best of the Best for the month of November 2018, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet.
I think I read 1 or 2 of Rosellen Brown's earlier novels many years ago. I was intrigued by the Chicago setting but after 100 pages it didn't grab me - too slow and dense.
Colette Dever
rated it it was ok
Nov 04, 2018
Carol Vincenty
rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2018
Ashlyn Keefe
rated it liked it
Dec 12, 2018
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Nov 18, 2018
gerald l. dutka
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Oct 30, 2018
Courtney Jones
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Dec 14, 2018
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Becky Arundale
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Oct 28, 2018
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Dec 03, 2018
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Rosellen Brown (born May 12, 1939) is an American author, and has been an instructor of English and creative writing at several universities, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Houston. She has won several grants and awards for her work. The 1996 film Before and After was adapted from her novel of the same name.

(from Wikipedia)