On Fire

Thistledown Press, Spring 2013.

 On-Fire (Web)

In the opening pages of On Fire, fourteen-year-old Matti Iverly tells us, “At school they called me Tourette’s Girl, like I came out of a phone booth in a costume and made funny noises for their entertainment.” She goes on to point out that she’s really a serious person who’s been waiting for a serious purpose.

When a young man with amnesia stumbles into her wildfire- threatened mountain village, she thinks she’s found that purpose. She’ll save his life and restore his memory.

Dan, she decided to call the stranger, since he can’t or won’t remember his own name. And he does seem to be making progress. Then he disappears, just before fire forces the evacuation of her village.

Dan then takes up the narrative. And the world he describes is darker than anything Matti could have imagined. It’s a place full of ghosts and shadows, and danger.

There is mystery at the heart of this novel and a plot laid down in  serpentine twists and turns. Reading it, we become aware that we can never know exactly what life is like for anyone else.

Advance Praise for On Fire:

”Linden brings many combustibles to this story that blazes with creativity: magic realism … mountain country mythology … survival stories … even some kindling from Dante. But what burns brightest is the voice of Matti, a teenager with Tourette’s syndrome – true, and funny, and heart-breaking – as she describes what happens when a young man with amnesia wanders into her life.”

Glen Huser

GG gold medallist for Stitches, 2003


“The dramatic sleight-of-hand twists and turns in this richly peopled novel will have readers pondering the enigma of identity – how to define it, and even, perhaps, when to renounce it. Dianne Linden’s shimmering, edgy writing never takes normal for granted.”

Holley Rubinsky, South of Elfrida, 2013