Small Fires: Essays
A collection of essays from the author of Same-Sexy Marriage. “A painfully honest but beautiful journey . . . Heartfelt and hopeful” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
This is a daughter’s story. In Small Fires, Julie Marie Wade recreates the landscape of her childhood with a lacemaker’s care, then turns that precise attention on herself. There are floating tea lights in the bath, coddled blossoms in the garden, and a mother straddling her teenage daughter’s back, astringent in hand, to better scrub her not-quite-presentable pores. And throughout, Wade traces this lost world with the same devotion as her mother among her award-winning roses. Small Fires is essay as elegy, but it is also essay as parsing, reconciliation, and celebration, all in the attempt to answer the question—what have you given up in order to become who you are?
“Reckoning with imperfect parents—what they owe us and what we owe them—is one of the chief tasks of these essays, which form a kind of pointillistic autobiography. Another is the construction of memories, even imagined, in which understanding and forgiveness trump judgment and hate . . . Throughout, the writing is sharp, surprising, and precise.” —The Boston Globe
“In Small Fires, Julie Marie Wade . . . considers family and memory with a poetic eye and unabashed tongue . . . [It] is Julie Marie Wade’s story, but the collection opens onto something universal—how we individuate from our family, how we become ourselves, what we carry forward from our pasts and make our own.” —Lambda Literary
“A book of essays that left me transfixed and transformed through brilliant prose and ideas. It’s like finding a time capsule of nostalgic treasures.” —Brevity
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