Friday 27 May 2022

Wild Fires by Sophie Jai Blog Tour

I have to be honest from the beginning, Wild Fires is not my typical go to sort of book. I went in with no expectation, I'd initially been drawn in by the front cover (come on, I'm not the only one to do such a thing).

What Sophie Jai has written is a story about family experiencing loss and about how each of them deal with their grief.

The only things Cassandra knows about her family are the stories she's heard in snatches over the years: about the aunt and cousin she never got to meet, about the man from the folded-up photograph in one of her aunt's drawers, and of course about her cousin Chevy, and his troubled past - but no one utters a word about them any more.

When a call from one of her sisters brings Cassandra news of Chevy's death, she has to return home for the funeral. To Toronto and the big house on Florence Street, where her sisters are hiding more than themselves in their rooms, where the tension brewing between her mother and aunts has been decades in the making, and where sooner or later every secret, unspoken word and painful memory will find its way out into the open.


The story actually begins with an image of the Rampersad family tree.

Now, this is something that proved to be invaluable for me as I read this book. There were many moments where I referred back to the tree. Without it I would have been left lost at times as to who was who. 

That I guess would be my only complaint about this book.

Despite being at times confused by where certain family members came into it all, I found Wild Fires as a whole to be an intelligent and compelling story.

There are many strong female characters in this tale, every single one of them unique and with their own personal dealings of mourning.

Changing between the present  with flashes of the past and split into three parts, Jai has spun a story that is sensitive and touching. A slow burner, Sophie takes her time with each section, all of which are brought together seamlessly.

Much culture has gone into all of the pages, the language used felt authentic. I'd quite like to hear this via audiobook to hear the characters really bought to life.


It was interesting to observe just how each of the characters dealt with the sadness presented to them.

The author done a brilliant job of trying to show us the complexities of those family dynamics, how they could support each other in their times of need, the knowing whether to be there or stand back and let them grieve in their own way.

You need time to read this book.

Changes in timelines, locations (Trinidad and Toronto) and characters conversing meant that a lot of concentration was needed, but that isn't a criticism as such, I found that it made me take me time, really taking in all of the details.

Quiet but strong.

Wild Fires is a dark and highly charged debut that I wouldn't hesitate in recommending. 

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