How has the experience of being a refugee changed in a world of drones, 24-hour live news feeds, and text messages that zip across the globe in seconds? How does contemporary fiction capture the contradictions of being a refugee in a hyperconnected 21st century?
By seeing how heroic masculinity passes on a legacy of hatred and violence that continues old injustices, what comes to the fore is the vital need to acknowledge our own personal connections to histories of violence.
The Great Fire of London in 1666. The Great War. The Blitz. The Second World War. The 20th century itself. Love. The characters and narrator of Hazzard’s The Great Fire (2003) attribute the title variously throughout the novel. They read “the great fire” as many fires, real and metaphorical.
Midway through Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire (2003), the hero—and Aldred Leith is a hero in the oldest of the old-school sense—returns from Tokyo to his temporary home base outside Hiroshima.