How to Set a Fire and Why (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Fun, strange, accessible and wildly subversive. Part snarky coming-of-age-tale, part treatise on anarchist philosophy that somehow retains a humanity and sense of humor while being topical and urgent.

— Justin

Fun, strange, accessible and wildly subversive. Part snarky coming-of-age-tale, part treatise on anarchist philosophy that somehow retains a humanity and sense of humor while being topical and urgent.

— Justin

July 2016 Indie Next List


“On page one of Ball's new novel, 16-year-old Lucia Stanton gets kicked out of school for stabbing the star basketball player in the neck with a pencil. Lucia is a delinquent, a philosopher, a shard of glass. She's also an aspiring arsonist and an iconoclast, who is vibrant, alive, and charming in a misanthropic way. Ball's prose is precise and deceptively spare, his message dynamic in what he doesn't write. Enlightenment thinkers used the symbol of the flame to represent the power and transmission of knowledge. It's in this tradition that How to Set a Fire and Why becomes Ball's pyrotechnic masterpiece.”
— Matt Nixon (M), The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

About the Author


JESSE BALL (1978- ). Born in New York. The author of fourteen books, most recently the novel How to Set a Fire and Why. His works have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, won the 2008 Paris Review Plimpton Prize, was long-listed for the National Book Award, and has been a fellow of the NEA, Creative Capital, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781925355475
ISBN-10: 1925355470
Publisher: Text Publishing Co
Publication Date: February 24th, 2016
Pages: 294
Language: English