Who by Fire by Mary L. Tabor breaks new literary ground as a complex tale of love, betrayal, and the search for one self. Quite simply, we have chosen Who by Fire for publication under our name because it is like nothing else we have read and has earned its place among books that matter.
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Who by Fire is told by Robert, Lena’s husband, as he attempts to understand her affair with Isaac, an affair that he has become aware of after her death. He imagines the story of his wife and her lover.
Robert the narrator is trying to know himself in the story he is writing as he tells his imagined version of his wife’s betrayal. The story becomes a paradoxical tale of his own undoing that he comes to realize by telling it.
In the epigraph to the novel, Robert says, “Life has a way of raveling. Story discovers how it happened. That is the fiction.” This is the reader’s first introduction to Robert’s persona, a man who must control the world he inhabits. The telling of the story as he imagines it, reveals more than he would have wished and as this occurs, his telling moves into real time, for there is no way for him to deal with what he discovers except to report what is actually happening versus what he has imagined.
Robert Olen Butler, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain: Mary L. Tabor’s Who by Fire is a lovely, innovative, deeply engaging novel about how it is that human beings make their way through the mysteries of existence.
Lee Martin, author of Break the Skin and The Bright Forever, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize: Mary Tabor’s Who by Fire, is a lyric meditation on love and desire, one that will catch you up in the blaze of its eroticism, its tender evocation of love and the passions and accommodations of a life lived through the flesh and through the imagination. Can memory lead to forgiveness? Who by Fire explores that question in a story I won’t soon forget. The beauty of the prose, the nuances of the characters, the ever-building plot—everything is in place for a novel that will touch you in all the right ways.
Marly Swick, author of Paper Wings and The Evening News: Who By Fire is a profound and lyrical novel, deeply felt and deeply moving. Intricately layered, this novel loops through time with the dare-devil courage and grace of a seasoned stunt pilot. In the narrator’s unflinching journey of self-discovery, he comes to understand the past, both his failures and his saving graces. In the end, it is a hero’s journey, both for the narrator and the reader. This is beautiful truth.
Michael Johnson, foreign correspondent and writer for The International Herald Tribune, American Spectator and The Washington Times: Mary Tabor’s captivating story of love and death tackles the tangle of relationships within and outside the bonds of marriage. Her eye-popping knowledge of men’s and women’s behavior is effortlessly recounted as couples face their anguished choices. Set in a world of art, music, anthropology and science, her novel enlightens the mind while it stirs the emotions. She does all this in a confident style of prose that ranks her alongside the finest novelists working today.
• “The Fire,” excerpt from completed novel, Chautauqua Literary Journal, summer 2006, review of The Woman Who Never Cooked also appears in this issue.
• “The Fire,” excerpt from novel, second prize for prose, Tall Grass Writers Guild (Lee Martin, judge) and publication in Falling in Love Again, anthology, Outrider Press, September 2005 (Mary L. Tabor, featured reader at Chicago Book Fair, June 2005).
• “The Fire,” excerpt nominated in January 2005 for Pushcart Prize XXXI by Joan Connor.
• Semi-finalist, 2004 James Jones First Novel Fellowship under former working-title Controlled Burn.
Paperback: 248 pages
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Publication Date: November 2012