The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire

Chloe Hooper (Author)

Product Details

$18.95  $17.43
Seven Stories Press
Publish Date
September 29, 2020
5.4 X 8.1 X 1.1 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Chloe Hooper's The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two novels, A Child's Book of True Crime and The Engagement.


An engrossing report brimming with urgent detail and palpable suspense. ... A gripping true-crime chronicle in which the justice is both righteous and agonizing. --Kirkus Reviews

With propulsive energy, 'The Arsonist' follows the case .... The elemental terror of Black Saturday requires little embellishment, only the quiet dignity of witness. It's this restraint -- as intelligent as it is compassionate -- that elevates 'The Arsonist' from slick true-crime procedural to cultural time capsule. ...A sharp-edged portrait of social as well a pyromaniacal desolation. --Beejay Silcox, The New York Times Book Review

Hooper drops the reader inside the Black Saturday brushfires to terrifying effect, then masterfully shifts from the physical realm to the existential-namely, how and why a particular evil manifests. Visceral and terrifying. -Maureen Callahan, New York Times bestselling author of American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century

The book tells the story of the 2009 Black Saturday blazes in Victoria, which rank among Australia's most deadly bushfires ... But it is also the story of post-industrial, semi-rural communities and lack of government regulation in the Anthropocene. The Arsonist's environmental setting may help readers understand the context for Australia's current bushfire emergency. --Chicago Review of Books

Add The Arsonist to Australia's illustrious literature on bushfires. With skill and sensitivity, Chloe Hooper has managed to find an unexpectedly human face and heart amid the blackest depths of Black Saturday. --Stephen Pyne, author of Fire: A Brief History

Praise for the Australian edition of The Arsonist

Demonstrates why literature still matters. --Jeff Sparrow, The Age

A brilliant and moving book. --Australian Book Review

A masterclass in engaging true crime. --Herald Sun

Hooper gives a cool appraisal of a hot issue...even-handed and nuanced. --The Guardian

The Arsonist [is] by turns a fascinating real-life thriller, police procedural, intense sociological study and the long-overdue story of fire in Australia...Powerful and nuanced...In Hooper's sure hands the grimmest details become exquisite imagery. --The Sydney Morning Herald

Gripping, gritty and unsparing but never gratuitous in its details, this is true crime writing at its best. But Hooper goes beyond the procedurals and the scene setting to examine the greater context of the tragedy. --The Saturday Paper