Into the Fire
A year after her best friend died in a house fire, Lara can’t come to terms with the loss. Logic says there was no more she could have done to save the mercurial and unhappy Alice, but Lara can’t escape the feeling that she is somehow to blame for the tragedy.
She spends a weekend at the rebuilt house with Alice’s charismatic widower, Crow, and his three young children. Rummaging through the remains of their shared past, Lara reveals a friendship with Alice that was as troubled as it was intense. But beneath the surface is a darker, more unsettling secret waiting to be exposed.
Through exquisite prose and searing insight, Into the Fire explores the many ways, small and large, we betray one another and our ideals. It’s a compelling story about power, guilt and womanhood from an outstanding voice in Australian fiction.
‘A perceptive, provoking story of friendship and intimacy. I loved it.’ Rosalie Ham
‘Superbly crafted … Orchard makes a mockery of the phrase ‘‘difficult second novel’’.’ The Age
‘Into the Fire’s honesty in looking at often ugly behaviour, and its ability to knuckle down into the core of its characters’ complexities, make it hard to put down.’ The Saturday Paper
‘[Orchard captures] time and place with Garner-esque recall and tenderness.’ Readings Monthly
‘Smart, heartbreaking and richly rewarding.’ Jacinta Halloran
‘Orchard is an astute observer of long friendships, their binds, their blind loyalties, their casual betrayals.’ Kristina Olsson
‘A timely and necessary book.’ Julienne van Loon
‘Heartbreaking: long after the final pages, Orchard had me sifting through the embers to find what was left of friendship and loyalty.’ Cassandra Austin
‘What’s most intriguing about this story is the sharp commentary on gender politics, comparing our university-age selves to our mid-career selves, and the subtle power of gaslighting.’ Books + Publishing magazine
‘Attractive, intelligent and steadfastly feminist.’ The Advertiser