Above the Fire : A Novel

Michael O’Donnell

Robert Fass (Narrator)

12-05-23

7hrs 40min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction

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Play Audio Sample

12-05-23

7hrs 40min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction

Description

“A prescient, timely novel of sacrifice and consequence, O’Donnell’s debut soars as a modern survival tale full of timeless, biting prose. Fireside reading with a pulse, Above the Fire commands attention and satiates the appetite for a unique plot that honors a classic dilemma. A triumph.” Ross Ritchell, author of The Knife

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
A BookTrib Pick of the Month's Best Audiobooks
A Washington Independent Review of Books Pick of Most Popular December Books
An AudioFile Editors’ Pick of the Month's Listening We Love
An Apple Books Pick of Books from Debut Writers to Watch

An enthralling debut, Above the Fire crystallizes the relationship between a father and son as they survive a winter of isolation. Perfect for fans of The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Laboring under a shared loss, Doug and his young son, Tim, set out on a late-season backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They find beauty and solidarity in the outdoors, making friends along the trail and falling into the rhythms of an expedition. But when reports of warfare and social collapse reach the ranger station, Doug—seeking to protect the only family he has left—withdraws even further into the backcountry.

The alpine winter presents its own dangers, as father and son must endure the elements, the solitude, and the ever-present threat of outsiders. As their isolation intensifies, and the nature of the country’s disorder becomes more unsettling, their bond with each other grows more fierce. But as spring approaches, they must decide whether—and how—to confront the perils of a changed world.

Praise

“A prescient, timely novel of sacrifice and consequence, O’Donnell’s debut soars as a modern survival tale full of timeless, biting prose. Fireside reading with a pulse, Above the Fire commands attention and satiates the appetite for a unique plot that honors a classic dilemma. A triumph.” Ross Ritchell, author of The Knife

“Above the Fire is a quiet, thrilling, profound book. Set against the backdrop of catastrophe, it is a meditation on fatherhood, love, resilience, and loss. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” Jon Fasman, author of The Geographer’s Library and The Unpossessed City

“Above the Fire is a timely and tense novel about a loving father forced to prepare his son for a cold and uncertain world. With his terrific debut, O’Donnell invents the counterpart to the ‘summer beach read'—call it the ‘winter cabin fever read'—and his careful prose thrusts the reader into a worst-case scenario where every choice could mean life or death.” Kevin Guilfoile, screenwriter and author of Cast of Shadows and The Thousand

“At once fierce and touching, Above the Fire is a powerful story of parenthood and grief, nature and civilization, and the raw essentials of life.” A. D. Miller, Booker Prize–shortlisted author of Snowdrops

“A terse, well-paced story that effectively blends the elements of a classic nature adventure tale with a touching portrait of the loving relationship between a parent and child.” Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“An utterly gripping debut novel about humans surmounting threats both external and emotional.” Booklist (starred review)

“An extraordinary national disaster becomes a journey of bonding and healing for a father and son wounded by loss, in a work that is surprisingly tender given the terrifying adversity its main characters face.” Library Journal

“Robert Fass captures the natural interplay between a father and son during an emotional struggle for survival…A subtly mesmerizing listen with a stellar performance grounded in the rhythms of human discourse.” AudioFile

“A tenderly wrought father-son novel…ripe for book-club discussion, a solid read for anyone who appreciates the stark beauty of New England woods.” Boston Globe

“A captivating read, and one that’s hard not to race through. Do yourself a favor, though. Take your time and savor every moment. This is a wonderful book.” Washington Independent Review of Books

“A bleak yet beautiful portrait of a world in crisis…The stakes feel incredibly real.” Apple Books

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Details
More Information
Language English
Release Day Dec 4, 2023
Release Date December 5, 2023
Release Date Machine 1701734400
Imprint Blackstone Publishing
Provider Blackstone Publishing
Categories Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Family Life, Literary Fiction, New Releases
Author Bio
Michael O’Donnell

Michael O’Donnell is the author of the novel Above the Fire. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and other publications. He has been a member of the National Book Critics Circle since 2005. An attorney by profession, he lives in the Chicago area, where he practices law. He earned his bachelor’s degree with distinction from Indiana University and his law degree magna cum laude from Boston College.

Narrator Bio
Robert Fass

Robert Fass is a veteran actor and twice winner of the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. He has earned multiple Earphones Awards and been named in AudioFile magazine’s list of the year’s best narrations for six years.

Overview

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
A BookTrib Pick of the Month's Best Audiobooks
A Washington Independent Review of Books Pick of Most Popular December Books
An AudioFile Editors’ Pick of the Month's Listening We Love
An Apple Books Pick of Books from Debut Writers to Watch

An enthralling debut, Above the Fire crystallizes the relationship between a father and son as they survive a winter of isolation. Perfect for fans of The Dog Stars by Peter Heller and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Laboring under a shared loss, Doug and his young son, Tim, set out on a late-season backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They find beauty and solidarity in the outdoors, making friends along the trail and falling into the rhythms of an expedition. But when reports of warfare and social collapse reach the ranger station, Doug—seeking to protect the only family he has left—withdraws even further into the backcountry.

The alpine winter presents its own dangers, as father and son must endure the elements, the solitude, and the ever-present threat of outsiders. As their isolation intensifies, and the nature of the country’s disorder becomes more unsettling, their bond with each other grows more fierce. But as spring approaches, they must decide whether—and how—to confront the perils of a changed world.