Feeling overwhelmed and alone, she reconnects with her long-lost high school boyfriend, Dean, who offers an intoxicating, reckless escape. But Dean's reappearance is not a coincidence. He wants something from Claire-and she soon finds that the cost of repaying an old favor may lead to the destruction of her entire life.
What Burns Away is a story of loyalty, family, and the consequences of the past's inevitable collision with our future.
Melissa Falcon Field and the risks of social media
Praise for the book:
“What Burns Away manages to be many things at once: an elegy for a lost girlhood, a study of geographical and cosmic displacement, a portrait of a waning marriage, and a portrayal of a heroine whom readers will find both surprising and relatable. In extraordinary sleight of hand, Melissa Falcon Field blazes through this debut novel with a big-hearted sensuality and a bull’s-eye precision on a par with our best working writers today. A must-read debut.” ~Jan Elizabeth Watson, author of What Has Become of You
“Swiftly paced and utterly engrossing, What Burns Away is the searing portrait of a devoted mother undone by isolation, grief and her own darkest impulses. Melissa Falcon Field writes with such honesty and empathy, it was impossible not to see myself reflected on the page. A brave, textured, emotionally complex book that haunts me still.” ~Jillian Medoff, author of I Couldn’t Love You More
“What Burns Away is captivating. I picked it up expecting to read a chapter and didn’t put it down until the final sentence. It moves fast, doesn’t let you catch your breath, and leaves you shaken. Melissa Falcon Field has a knack for bringing her settings to life: in her hands, landlocked Wisconsin and the Connecticut shoreline are themselves indelible characters, full of secrets and longings, at once familiar and utterly strange.” ~Sarah Braunstein, author of The Sweet Relief of Missing Children
“What Burns Away is a study of safety, loyalty, and heart. But it’s also the story of what happens when those things run up against boredom, when they gaze in the smoky glass of lost mirrors and see soulful shadows of passion, freedom, and risk. A new mom’s fiery first love is back, and he challenges all she’s built for herself, reveals the fragility of suburban dreams. In scorching prose, Melissa Falcon Field reminds us that when trouble flies out to the far reaches of the solar system, we’d best not forget it’s coming back.” ~Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love
“Melissa Falcon Field’s thrilling, perceptive debut novel is about the deep dive that is falling in love with a baby, a husband, an old flame—and also a fearless look at the ways we risk, and even seek, its destruction. I sat down with What Burns Away and didn’t stand up till it was over.” ~Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter