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Other Fires

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Joss and Phil’s already rocky marriage is fragmented when Phil is injured in a devastating fire and diagnosed with Capgras delusion―a misidentification syndrome in which a person becomes convinced that a loved one has been replaced by an identical imposter. Faced with a husband who no longer recognizes her, Joss struggles to find motivation to save their marriage, even as ...more
Kindle Edition
Published October 20th 2020
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
“Crisis had a way of breaking the jar’s seal and spilling secrets.”

An intense psychological examination of a disintegrating family whose plights are made worse by a house fire which injures one of them. And maybe wasn’t accidental. Everyone has his or her mental and emotional issues, often made worse by those closest.

“People are complicated. Who can understand other people’s motives? Even our own?”

Gay takes the reader deep into the minds of four principal characters, detailing their pain, plans,
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
via my blog:
𝐇𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐨𝐝𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐥𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐚𝐝 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐛𝐥𝐞.

This novel tells the story of a marriage already falling apart when, through an accident during a housefire, the husband Phil suffers a head injury and is diagnosed with Capgras syndrome. This delusion leads him to believe his wife is an imposter. Joss is already fighting to be supportive, car
Diane Lynch
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Other Fires is a character-driven story. Each character has their chapters. This format gives the reader that character's perspective. Instead of reading a book, the characters tell the story. Each character is well defined.

Terpe is a third-grade girl. The older of two children in this family. The other child is a baby girl. Terpe and her mother Joss are the main characters. This book tells their story through the eyes of a kid and the eyes of a woman. Joss grows through introspective thinking w
Dan Lawton
When it comes to review requests, I'm fairly selective these days. On the surface, this story had many elements that appealed—mental health, a writer on a deadline, a marriage on the rocks—but I sensed quickly this would not fulfill its potential. While I was expecting a character study about a wife and mother with all these challenges in her life, it was anything but. It was sappy dramatics and a mediocre love story with another flat character and predictable drama. With alternating perspective ...more
Stephanie Agudelo
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club-books
I had a difficult time getting into the book. I have to admit that I stop reading it after a few chapters. I found it depressing and somewhat unbelievable. I wanted to like it but it just wasn't my cup of tea. ...more
Donna Thompson
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-read
My heart hurt. I kept thinking about these people. I felt sorrow for not only them, but the whole human race, every last one of us, flawed, hurting and thrust into lives and situations that we have no control over. Because each one of us is victim to our upbringing, our influences, the approval of others or just the lonely landscape we grew up in. I could empathize with each person in the book and although I ran the gamut of every emotion known to mankind, I still felt hopeful at the end, becaus ...more
Karen Axnick
Aug 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
Having a psychology background, I was intrigued by the premise of this book, namely the aftermath of a traumatic head injury on the individual and the family.

Rousted out of their beds by a fire, Phil, Joss and their two children flee their home, but not before Phil sustains smoke inhalation and a blow to the head from falling beams. For days afterward, Phil is intubated and kept in a medically induced coma while his life hangs in the balance. When he awakens, he does not recognize his wife. He w
Donadee's Corner
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lenore H Gay – Other Fires – Reviewed 9/25/20 – Read 8/29-9/2/20

He sees me, but tells me that I am fake, or is he faking?

Joss & Phil are from different backgrounds, but things just seem to click! Now years later and two children, things are falling apart. I know that he is cheating, but why? What happened? I am trying, but is he? So many questions, too many to answer tonight!

I hear Terpe, my oldest, yelling Fire! Fire! I answer, Ok, I am up! I tell Terpe to get the baby and take her outside, whe
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Joss and Phil's marriage has been in trouble since the birth of their second baby. Somehow, the pressure of working and raising their first child is doubled with the addition of the new child. When Joss finds out that Phil has been having an affair, she wonders if this is the last straw. Hurt and frustrated, she sends him to the guest room to sleep. When a fire breaks out in the night, he is the one who is injured. When he wakes up in the hospital, there is another issue. He doesn't recognize Jo ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
“During the hours she sat in Phil’s room, she sometimes tried to fit together the pieces of her own parents’ marriage while trying to create a map of some exotic place using the cracks in the ceiling as an outline of this new world of fire and injury.”

This book is about four characters, Joss, Phil, Terpe and Adam and the different ways that they connect, or disconnect after a devastating fire that shakes the foundations of their lives. The fire takes place in the house of Joss and Phil, who are
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lenore H.Gay's novel 'Other Fires' is about loss, motherhood, passion, betrayal, and the different ways that these things can entangle and complicate our lives.
Joss is a writer, working on her second book and raising her two young daughters. Before the beginning of the story, she and her husband have some marital troubles when he is unfaithful. Phil is the husband of Joss and father of her daughters. At the beginning of the story, he is sleeping on the couch because his wife no longer wants to s
Becky Willis
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advance copy to review. My opinions are my own.

This story was one that you were able to learn about each character as they each had their own chapters. Have you heard of "Capgras delusion"? This is a misidentification syndrome in which a person becomes convinced that a loved one has been replaced by an identical imposter. I first actually heard of this syndrome on an episode of SVU (the Mom had been in an auto accident and they diagnosed her with this).

It is a heartbreaking condit
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was part of a #GalleyMatch for our Book Club. We were intrigued by the Capgras Syndrome mentioned in the synopsis. I was expecting it to be like a Lisa Genova novel that centers around characters dealing with a diagnosis and its effect on others in the family with a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes of the disease. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Phil and Joss's marriage is in trouble. Joss has recently round out that Phil is having an affair and has sent him to sleep in the d
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
When a tragic house fire occurs, the lives of 3 individuals, Terpe, Joss and Adam, intersect. Young Terpe awakens in the middle of the night to the smell of smoke. She is able to get her baby sister out safely, but her father, Phil, suffers a head injury before she and her mother, Joss, can pull him to safety. While Phil is in hospital, Adam,an electrician, enters their lives, when he comes to fix damage from the fire. He seems to be a loser, with his own ghosts.
Terpe, Joss and Adam all suffer s
Penny Leidecker
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This is a hard review for me to write, but I’ll do it without leaving any spoilers. This is the first book I’ve read by Lenore H. Gay and I’m glad I read it, but I don’t know if I’ll read any more of her books. I wasn’t aware of Capgras Misidentification Syndrome when I read this book, so that was interesting to read about. This book left me with unanswered questions and I didn’t like that. We get chapters from each of the four main characters: Terpe, mature beyond her years, Joss, the
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
First of al I want to say I loved it. I occasionally have a hard time when I am reading and the book jumps POV but I must have been in the right mood as it didn't bother me a bit. This is a very character driven story line and you really get a feel for the authors background as a counselor as the characters have many layers to their personality and I found it very interesting to see how my opinion of them changed and developed through reading others interactions with them. If your looking for a ...more
Nov 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Other Fires: A Novel is my first introduction to the work by Lenore H. Gay. I thought it was a good read. It is one that toyed a lot with my emotions. It is not an easy or light read. I had to make sure I was able to sit for a bit alone to keep myself focused on the story. I was mostly engaged from start to finish.

I am giving Other Fires: A Novel three and a half stars. I would be interested in reading more by Lenore H. Gay in the future. I recommend other readers to pick this one up and give i
Caroline Massie-DeJarnette
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Other Fires encapsulates the raw reality of being human, with dysfunctional characters ravaged by tragedy and hopelessness yet vulnerable to the kind of optimism that drives us all to just keep on going.

The reader unpacks multiple, interwoven storylines through the perspectives of these complex characters in ways that bring them to life on the page. There is a subtle brilliance in the details and a psychological depth that explores the question of “why are we the way that we are?”

This novel will
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Chapters in this intense novel, full of short, tight sentences, are in alternating points of view, taking readers into the minds of numerous characters. Sometimes Gay creates a stream-of-consciousness flow that I found mesmerizing, seductive, and almost trance-like, which felt appropriate because one character is trying to recover from injuries sustained in a house fire while the others are trying to pick up their scattered, fragmented lives. The story feels both dreamlike and authentic.
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Strange book, written in shifting POV but with no difference in the voices. Overall unlikable characters and weak plot.  

Three stars because I did feel compelled to finish it although there was no satisfying closure or true denouement. 
Michelle Stockard Miller
Not sure what I would do if presented with a situation that Joss faces in Other Fires. An already struggling marriage, a fire, and then to be virtually unrecognized as who you are, an impostor, to your own husband. A lot to consider in this book, not just the core of the story, but the surrounding personalities and individuals. The real standout for me was Terpe, the young daughter of Phil and Joss. Struggling with her own isolation and quirks, experiencing her toughness beyond her years, and he ...more
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Lenore Gay is a Licensed Professional Counselor with master’s degrees in sociology and rehabilitation counseling. She has worked in several agencies, psychiatric hospitals and for ten years she maintained a private practice. She is retired from the faculty of the Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Rehabilitation, where she taught graduate students and coordinated the internship progra ...more

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