From Fire Into Fire
An Issac’s House Novella
by Normandie Fischer
From the author of Two from Isaac’s House comes the story behind the story.
Sixteen years after terrorists target Meira, she and her husband face their toughest task yet: telling their boy the truth.
Tony Rasad has spent most of his young life in Lebanon, the Arab-American son of a university professor. Beirut’s where he ought to be now, running around, playing on the beach with his best friend. Instead, he’s stuck at this lake house in upstate New York, preparing to go to a prep school he’s certain to hate.
He’s about to learn a secret that will change everything. His parents, the liars, have been living under a cover so deep they never even told their only son who he actually is.
Exposing their lies could cost them everything, including him.
“He took care as he walked, as if she were a precious burden. No one had carried her since she was a child, and although her father’s arms often held her, this stranger’s care felt overwhelming in ways that left her breathless.”
“Oh, he’d been lit up by women before, but only on the surface, like a damp match that sparked and then fizzled. This felt different. It reminded him of the flame in one of those little cans of cooking fuel that could boil soup and keep it simmering for hours when the electricity went off.”
I typically avoid books/events/discussions involving religious issues, as after enduring a childhood reared by overly strict and zealot parents, I personally find most religions and their ardent followers to be arrogant, bigoted, and extremely polarizing. And while I originally despaired at the presence and constant undercurrent of the issues of faith in this story – the overall plot and premise are much more than just that.
Tony is a pubescent thirteen-year-old boy. His world is already upside down and inside out after being uprooted and moved thousands of miles from his home and told he would soon be attending a boarding school in his new home. He receives yet another jolt when his parents impart their shocking news that his entire family isn’t at all who he thought they were, his identity is a total lie, and his parents are in fact essentially traitors to the black and white world he has come to believe in.
As his parents dither in revealing the history and take a meandering trip through their memories to explain their story, Tony is growing increasingly impatient, belligerent, and angry. I identified with his impatience as I was as eager to understand and unravel that mystery myself. Ms. Fischer’s talented word craft and mastery weave an emotive and atmospheric narrative that is fraught with tension and intrigue. My body felt taut and I found myself squirming and shifting as I read. I enjoyed the multiple POV perspective and found the story-line to be relevant, engaging, and consuming. I also deeply appreciated the overriding message of the importance of tolerance, which is something I apparently must continually endeavor to work on.
About the Author
I write from on board our sailboat or from on shore in coastal NC — stories of women and families and the things that get to them.