Cover image for Not on fire, but burning : a novel
Not on fire, but burning : a novel
Not on fire, but burning : a novel
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
Brooklyn, NY : Melville House Publishing, 2015.
Physical Description:
263 pages ; 23 cm
Not on Fire, but Burning is unlike anything you're read before--not exactly a thriller, not exactly sci-fi, not exactly speculative fiction, but rather a brilliant and absorbing adventure into the dark heart of an America that seems ripped from the headlines. But just as powerfully, it presents a captivating hero: A young boy driven by love to seek the truth, even if it means his deepest beliefs are wrong"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number
Material Type
F HRBE Book Adult Fiction

On Order



"Twenty-year-old Skyler saw the incident out her window- Some sort of metallic object hovering over the Golden Gate Bridge just before it collapsed and a mushroom cloud lifted above the city. Like everyone, she ran, but she couldn t outrun the radiation, with her last thoughts being of her beloved baby brother, Dorian, safe in her distant family home. Flash forward to a post-incident America, where the country has been broken up into territories and Muslims have been herded onto the old Indian reservations in the west, even though no one has determined who set off the explosion that destroyed San Francisco. Twelve-year old Dorian dreams about killing Muslims and about his sister even though Dorian s parents insist Skyler never existed. Are they still shell-shocked, trying to put the past behind them or is something more sinister going on? Meanwhile, across the street, Dorian s neighbor adopts a Muslim orphan from the territories. It will set off a series of increasingly terrifying incidents that will lead to either tragedy or redemption for Dorian, as he struggles to prove that his sister existed and was killed by a terrorist attack. Not on Fire, but Burning is unlike an

Author Notes

" GREG HRBEK won the James Jones First Novel award for his book The Hindenberg Crashes Nightly . His short fiction has appeared in Harper s Magazine and numerous literary journals, and in The Best American Short Stories anthology. He is writer in residence at Skidmore College."

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hrbek (The Hindenberg Crashes Nightly) balances equal parts suspense and introspection in this portrait of a near-future world teetering between annihilation and redemption. The story opens with a harrowing scene: a young woman, Skyler, babysitting for a little boy who reminds her of her own much younger brother, Dorian, witnesses a nuclear terrorist attack that begins with an assault on the Golden Gate Bridge. Fast forward eight years to 2038, when Dorian is almost 12. Now living with his parents and older brother on the other side of the country, he is growing up in a deeply distrustful, war-torn America in which all Muslims have been interred on former Indian reservations. Dorian, who blames Islamic radicals for that still-unexplained terrorist attack that haunts his dreams, is deeply apprehensive when their neighbor adopts a young Muslim boy, Karim, disrupting the fragile sense of security in their neighborhood. Suspicion and prejudices steadily escalate, yet Hrbek still manages to interject thought-provoking asides, from the life cycle of the 17-year locust to theories of the multiverse. In the end, Hrbek's narrative is a profound cautionary tale, a vivid and often deeply unnerving reminder that our choices carry real and lasting consequences. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

In the not-too-distant future, Skyler Wakefield is babysitting in San Francisco when a nuclear explosion destroys the city, along with America's sense of security. Eight years later, her parents and younger brothers are living on the East Coast. Eleven-year-old Dorian Wakefield has grown up in an America torn apart by fear and blames Islamic terrorists for the still-unexplained explosion. When his family's neighbor adopts a young orphan boy from the Muslim internment camps, it sparks a different kind of eruption in the neighborhood. The title refers not only to the city after the blast but also to the state of the country in the years that follow, when hate groups are springing up and rumors are spreading of the government using drones to drop bombs on the camps. Normal life is slowly being burned away to reveal the fears and prejudices hidden just beneath the surface. Verdict Hrbek (Destroy All Monsters) returns with another disturbing story in which even the smallest choices can have lasting consequences. His poetic writing will appeal to readers who enjoy speculative fiction that reads like literary fiction (think Margaret Atwood). [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick's Mystery Spotlight feature "Not the Usual Suspects," LJ 4/15/15.]-Portia Kapraun, Monticello-Union Twp. P.L., IN © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.