TheShelfLifeOfFire800Rachel, a middle-aged novelist and university professor in North Carolina, finds herself in a downward spiral when she learns that her brother Dennis, from whom she’s been estranged for decades, is dying. The news brings back memories she has long repressed.

As she reflects on how early trauma changed the trajectory of her life, Rachel remembers her youth and begins to rethink her role as a woman, a daughter, a wife, and a mother, reexamining the life she’s found herself living.

At times, Rachel's attempts to mine her own complicated past and to weave her memories into the fabric of her professional and creative work are laugh-out-loud funny; at other times, they're painful, though always off-beat and deeply intimate.

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