NOTHING LEFT TO BURN

Jay Varner

Nothing Left to Burn is a remarkable memoir that looks into the life of a family that has spent years harboring secrets, both dark and volatile. It eloquently tells the story of a son’s relationship with his father, the fire chief and a local hero, and his grandfather, a serial arsonist.

When Jay Varner, fresh out of college, returns home to work for the local newspaper, he knows that he will have to deal with the memories of a childhood haunted by a grandfather who was both menacing and comical and by a father who died too young and who never managed to be the father Jay so desperately needed him to be.

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Nothing Left to Burn is a remarkable memoir that looks into the life of a family that has spent years harboring secrets, both dark and volatile. It eloquently tells the story of a son’s relationship with his father, the fire chief and a local hero, and his grandfather, a serial arsonist.

When Jay Varner, fresh out of college, returns home to work for the local newspaper, he knows that he will have to deal with the memories of a childhood haunted by a grandfather who was both menacing and comical and by a father who died too young and who never managed to be the father Jay so desperately needed him to be. In digging into the past, he uncovers layers of secrets, lies, and half-truths. It is only when he finally has the truth in hand that he comes to an understanding of the forces that drove his father, and of the fires that for all his efforts his father could never extinguish.

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  • Algonquin Books
  • Hardcover
  • September 2010
  • 304 Pages
  • 9781616200299

Buy the Book

$23.95

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About Jay Varner

Jay Varner is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he earned his MFA in creative nonfiction. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is his first book.

Praise

“Unadorned but vivid, Varner’s coming-of-age story unravels family secrets about firefighting and arson. It’s painful and poignant . . . [Varner] reminds us that few lives, even those we think we know best, are easily understood.”—USA Today

“At its core, the book is about the way we spend half our lives trying to understand the people who brought us into this world . . . [Varner’s] writing is reporterly with lovely lyrical flourishes.”—Time Out Chicago