The Great Fire By Shirley Hazzard This novel is set in 1947. It is post WWII in East Asia. Much of the story regards the relationship and love story of Aldred Leith, a British war hero studying the aftereffects of Asia post war (of which I'd actually hoped there was more information) and Helen Driscoll, a 17 yr old daughter of a cold hearted Austrailian officer with political aspirations. Ms. Hazzard's writing is like poetry. Every word in every sentence is like a melody, it flows and melts into the next sentence. It is a pleasure and calming experience to read her writing. The reader can hear her voice. On the other hand, new characters were introduced constantly and with needless depth into their lives that the reader never returned. It broke the beautiful prose and caused the reader to constantly look back and question who it was they were reading about. It would be ludicrous to insinuate that Ms. Hazzard's writing is anything less than magnificent but the story itself was not enjoyable.