Fire Exit

A Novel

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Pub Date Jun 04 2024 | Archive Date May 31 2024
Tin House | Tin House Books

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Description

From the porch of his home, Charles Lamosway has watched the life he might have had unfold across the river on Maine’s Penobscot Reservation. On the far bank, he caught brief moments of his neighbor Elizabeth’s life—from the day she came home from the hospital to her early twenties. But there’s always been something deeper and more dangerous than the river that divides him from her and the rest of the tribal community. It’s the secret that Elizabeth is his daughter, a secret Charles is no longer willing to keep.

Now, it’s been weeks since he’s seen Elizabeth, and Charles is worried. As he attempts to hold on to and care for what he can—his home and property; his alcoholic, quick-tempered, and bighearted friend Bobby; and his mother, Louise, who is slipping ever deeper into dementia—
he becomes increasingly haunted by his past. Forced to confront a lost childhood on the reservation, a love affair cut short, and the death of his beloved stepfather, Fredrick, in a hunting accident—a death he and Louise are at odds over as to where to lay blame—Charles contends with questions he’s long been afraid to ask. Is his secret about Elizabeth his to share? And would his daughter want to know the truth, even if it could cost her everything she’s ever known?

From the award-winning author of Night of the Living Rez, Morgan Talty’s debut novel, Fire Exit, is a masterful and unforgettable story of family, legacy, bloodlines, culture and inheritance, and what, if anything, we owe one another.

From the porch of his home, Charles Lamosway has watched the life he might have had unfold across the river on Maine’s Penobscot Reservation. On the far bank, he caught brief moments of his neighbor...


A Note From the Publisher

LibraryReads votes due by 5/1/24.

LibraryReads votes due by 5/1/24.


Advance Praise

"Fire Exit, Morgan Talty’s debut novel, is utterly consuming. With this book, Talty more than fulfills the promise of his glorious short story collection, Night of the Living Rez. The storytelling is both spellbinding and quietly devastating. The novel is ultimately about family and belonging, about the stories we need to know even when they threaten to burn our lives down. A father desperately wants to let his daughter know about her body’s secret history, even while his mother forgets her son altogether. This book is filled with humor, and humanity’s strange wonder at its own desperation and depravity, as only Talty can do, with his subtle charm and crystalline prose, his sober reckoning with what love can and cannot do, what healing is and is not possible in our families. The novel absolutely smolders." - Tommy Orange

"Fire Exit is gorgeous. A genuinely original examination of the costs we pay to tell ourselves certain stories about who we are and where we come from. Talty is a revelation on matters of the heart, particularly the tenderness and warfare of contemporary manhood. This is that rare thing: a frankly honest novel about hard things written without a trace of bitterness. I loved it." - Brandon Taylor

"Talty’s writings feels to me like a gift of many lifetimes. Forgiveness, Morgan shows us, is also the work of a lifetime. The people to whom we feel closest can somehow be right beside us in the kitchen and simultaneously on some unreachably distant planet. People rotate away from each other for days or seasons at a time, and it’s miraculous when they return to find each other again, turning towards each other instead of away. It’s a treacherous thing, to love another person in this world that mixes so much beauty with so much sorrow. Thank you for reminding us, Morgan, that it is the necessary thing." - Karen Russell

"Fire Exit, Morgan Talty’s debut novel, is utterly consuming. With this book, Talty more than fulfills the promise of his glorious short story collection, Night of the Living Rez. The storytelling is...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781959030553
PRICE $28.95 (USD)
PAGES 256

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Average rating from 17 members


Featured Reviews

This centers on a man raised within the Penobscot reservation, but unable to remain because his family ties are not genetic. When he fathers a child, his existence is erased because to acknowledge him would cost his daughter her membership in that community.
How much do we value the truth and acknowledging each other’s stories vs allowing systems to privilege some only at the expense of others? Does belonging have to be zero sum?
The questions are weighty and Charles’s life has been bleak, but this is somehow more hopeful than dark.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the arc.

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Fire Exit is many stories. It's the story of Charles Lamosway who fathered a child secretly. Charles grew up on the Penobscot Reservation with his mother and stepfather, but as a White Man he simply does not belong. Charles is still searching for his identity and mourning the death of his beloved stepfather. While he determines whether he should make his presence known he deals with the slow demise of his mother. Along the way he veers off his tale to share stories of reservation people that you cannot help but become invested in.

Tully is the author of Night of the Living Rez and this second novel is a showstopper. With a clear man's voice, Tully takes you deep into the Maine reservation introduces you to a cast of humans you will never forget.
#FireExit #MorganTully
#Tinhouse

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Fire Exit is a quiet but volatile book--the plot is emotional in nature and reveals so much about human nature and issues of identity, responsibility, and love. The characters feel authentic and complex, and Talty's writing is outstanding. His character Charles reflects familial challenges that are hard to describe in words, yet many can relate to. Although the novel is slowly paced, I felt that worked with the mindset that Charles was working with while facing his situation. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read this great novel.

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