by Mark Helprin
"As if "The Odyssey" had been updated and rewritten by Dylan Thomas" ( "The Listener, " London), "Refiner's Fire" is the story of Marshall Pearl, ... Show synopsis "As if "The Odyssey" had been updated and rewritten by Dylan Thomas" ( "The Listener, " London), "Refiner's Fire" is the story of Marshall Pearl, orphaned at birth aboard an illegal immigrant ship off the coast of Palestine in 1947 and brought as an infant into the "ardent unlimitedness" of America. Determined to see the world in its beauty, ferocity, and ultimate justice, he does so, in scenes of gorgeous color and great excitement, as a child in the Hudson Valley, fighting the Rastafarians in Jamaica, at Harvard, in a slaughterhouse on the Great Plains, in the Mexican desert, on the sea, and in the Alps. Finally, he is drawn to Israel to confront the logic of his birth in a crucible of war, magic, suffering, and grace. At the opening of the book, he is one of the dying wounded being transported to Haifa during the 1973 War. We follow him as he dreams, reconstructing his life, until by the strength of what he has learned, suffered, and hoped, Marshall Pearl rises.