My Favorite Novel of 2018: Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Easily my favorite novel I read this year was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Penguin, 2017). It lifts the veneer off a picture-perfect suburb, and what’s beneath is rendered not just vividly but with aching empathy. The book is most of all about motherhood. If this paragraph doesn’t persuade you to read the book, then I don’t know what else to say:

Mia understood exactly where she drifted to. To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for existed at once. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she’d been and the child she’d become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again. (122)

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