Wild Fires

Sophie Jai




Grief is like an inside joke: you have to have been there to really get it.

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 why he never speaks – 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.

Moving between Toronto and Trinidad, Wild Fires is a vivid and compelling story exploring the ways we mourn and why we avoid the very things that can save us.

Media Reviews

‘Sophie is one of the most naturally talented writers I’ve ever taught or mentored, and that talent shines from every page of Wild Fires. This is a gem of a book: beautifully crafted, emotionally insightful, and full of sharply-drawn characters who linger long in the memory. Sophie is a literary star in the making’ Laura Barnett, #1 bestselling author of The Versions of Us

‘It’s an immersive story with everything I love in a book. It’s an incredibly intimate, tender story about grief, mourning, silences and secrets, loss, identity, love, sisters/mothers, and home. Wild Fires is bursting with silences and thick with characters “emboldened by the dark, creeping in corridors at night, saying things they cannot say in the light.” It reminds readers that families are often messy, tangled webs, thinly tied together with strings of the past that at any moment can unravel and leave us all spiralling. I’m hooked’ Yvonne battle-Felton, author of Remembered

‘I enjoyed it so much – one of my favourite things in literature is to be transported to a different place, ideally straight into the heart of a family whose history and characters are as alive while I’m reading as my own, and that was the experience that Wild Fires gave me. It reminded me of The God of Small Things, with the same intricate, confounding but completely relatable family relationships, secrets and darkness; I loved the rhythm of the language and the sharpness of the (often unexpectedly funny) observations … a beautiful book’ Emily Itami, author of Fault Lines

‘A moving and compelling novel that explores a family’s grief through both their shared stories and the words that should have stayed unspoken’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

There’s so much beauty in this book … I finished the last page with my eyes wet and my heart full’ Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, author of No Place Strange