Fire Child

Sally Emerson, Author Michael Joseph $0 (184p) ISBN 978-0-7181-2832-6
Award-winning London journalist and novelist Emerson ( Listeners ) casts this sardonically witty novel in the form of alternating diaries by a pair of hellbent adolescents who eventually meet and fall in love. Red-haired Martin Sherman is a 20-year-old grocery delivery boy and pyromaniac. Sly minx Tessa Armstrong, a ravishing mymphet of 13, manages to lure men to their destruction. She seduces the fatuous writer Alexander Hartley in a Belfast hotel, where her father discovers them; he is accidentally killed in the ensuing scuffle. By age 20, guilt-wracked Tessa, still lovely with hair gone gray, works in a real estate office, where Martin--now a dabbler in real estate--finds her. The two enclose themselves in the magic circle of their love, shutting out their hypocritical elders, notably their selfish mothers. Here the novel loses its mischievous sparkle, growing somber as penitent Tessa becomes obsessed with the nature of evil, which she studies in transcriptions of her late father's diaries. Emerson is a limber stylist, but the novel's vengeful conclusion seems to sacrifice plausible characterization for a sensational twist of plot. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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