Morgan Talty

Fire Exit

A lone white man lives beside the river on the edge of the Penobscot reservation in Maine. Charles spends his days doing odd jobs, looking after his mother as her lifelong depression intensifies, and staring across the water to the reservation, at the house in which his daughter has grown up. Elizabeth, his daughter, doesn’t know he exists.

Charles spent his own childhood on the same reservation, with a Native stepfather who treated him as his son – until tragedy struck, leaving a burning hole at the centre of their lives. As an adult Charles was forced to leave the reservation. When his first love Mary found out she was pregnant, she decided to conceal their daughter’s true heritage, in order to ensure Elizabeth’s tribal enrollment.

In her twenties now, Elizabeth is struggling. Observed from afar by her real father, who can see the connection between his daughter and his mother, the cracks in the foundations of Elizabeth’s life are beginning to show. As firmly as Charles believes the truth will set them all free, the price of it may be the destruction of them all.

Fire Exit is a novel of exceptional heart. It’s a deeply layered story of family and blood ties; full of quiet, beautiful, and dignified sentences, it shows us intergenerational connections from all angles, and their capacity to break, reform, fade, or strengthen, while always remaining a part of us.

Read an Excerpt
EBook: £11.99

More Info

You can learn more about Morgan Talty on his website, morgantalty.com.

Morgan Talty did a reading from his story collection Night of the Living Rez at the University of New England – you can watch it here.

Read an article by Morgan Talty on what makes him happy, in The Guardian.

An interview with Morgan Talty is available to read on Publishers Weekly‘s website, here.

Morgan Talty spoke to Aspiring Author about how he became a writer – you can read the interview here.

Author: Morgan Talty
Format: Ebook
Publication date: 1 October 2024
ISBN: 9781916751040
Ebook ISBN: 9781916751057
Availability: UK & C (excl Canada) and Europe

Reviews

Colin Barrett 

‘Fire Exit is a hypnotic, assured and sumptuously controlled novel. With cool compassion, Talty draws us right inside the skins of his cast of lost, wandering, wondering souls, and makes us feel “what it was like to feel invisible inside the great, great dream of being”.’

Tim Winton 

‘With its scrupulous reflection of wounded, dogged humanity, Fire Exit reminds us of why we still look to fiction for something beyond diversion and entertainment.  This is soul food. For all its thwarted hopes, ceaseless yearning and mortal mess, here is an act of imaginative solidarity to admire and be grateful for.  I loved this book.’

Tommy Orange 

‘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 humour, 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 smoulders.’

Brandon Taylor 

‘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.’

Karen Russell 

‘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.’