Dani Shapiro

Signal Fires: A Gripping New Novel From the Author of Inheritance

A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK: LA Times, Time Magazine, LitHub, BookPage, Library Journal, The Millions, She Reads, Oprah Daily

One Night. One Fateful Choice. A Constellation of Lives Changed Forever.

Change one thing and everything changes. One summer night in 1985, the lives of three teenagers are shattered by a horrific car crash, resulting in the death of a young woman near a sprawling oak tree that marks the perimeter of 18 Division Street. For the Wilf family, it will become the deepest kind of family secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken. By the time the Shenkmans move in across the street—a young couple expecting a baby boy—the accident has become a distant memory. But when Waldo Shenkman, a brilliant but lonely child, befriends Ben Wilf, a retired doctor who is struggling with his wife’s decline, the Wilfs’ and the Shenkmans’ lives and fates become deeply entwined, and the past comes hurtling back to Division Street, setting in motion a chain of spellbinding events that will transform both families forever. Riveting, emotional, impossible to put down, a literary and commercial tour de force, and a work of haunting beauty and complexity by a masterly storyteller at the height of her powers.

Stunning in depth and breadth, this luminous examination of loss and acceptance, furtiveness and reliability, abandonment and friendship ultimately blazes with profound revelations . . . Like creating an intricate origami puzzle, Shapiro folds together the events that define these lives over decades, focusing on specific interludes to divulge old secrets or bury new ones. Returning to fiction after touching readers with her courageous and probing memoirs, including Inheritance, Shapiro delivers keen perceptions about family dynamics via fictional characters that exude a rare combination of substance and delicacy.

- Booklist (starred)

A beautiful exploration of the connections between two families and the reverberations from a teenager’s lie . . . Shapiro imagines in luminous prose how each of the characters’ lives might have gone if things had turned out differently.

[Shapiro’s] well-developed characters and their interesting careers seal the deal.

Acclaimed novelist/memoirist Shapiro (Inheritance) writes with compassion and a deep understanding of the damage that secrets wreak. Shapiro’s first novel in 15 years was well worth the wait.

Shapiro’s first novel in 15 years tracks three generations on one suburban street through the prism of a drunk-driving accident that unearths several terrible secrets. The author’s attention to craft is so detailed, so invisible, that 250 pages feel simultaneously taut and timeless, especially as a friendship between an elderly man and an adolescent boy allows many of the characters to attain something approaching closure.

The celebrated memoirist returns to fiction with a lyrical and propulsive novel in which a horrific crash leaves a young woman dead and the driver’s family closing ranks around him. The secrets and cover-ups that result will haunt the family for generations to come, but it’s the richly drawn characters and moody atmospheric that make the book hard to put down.