September 13, 2017 11:14PM
By Nancy Burns-Fusaro
Sun staff writer
NORTH STONINGTON — Celeste Ng’s new novel, “Little Fires Everywhere,” was just released this week, but it’s already grabbing the attention of book-lovers everywhere.
Ng, a Harvard grad who lives in Cambridge, grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and Shaker Heights, Ohio, and earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Michigan, (now the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan).
“Little Fires Everywhere”is set in Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned — from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren — an enigmatic artist and single mother — who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town — and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
“Little Fires Everywhere” explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood — and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. Ng is also the author of the novel “Everything I Never Told You,” which was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book of 2014, Amazon’s number one Best Book of 2014, and named a best book of the year by over a dozen publications.
Ng will speak at the Wheeler Library in North Stonington Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit banksquarebooks.com.