The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel


Scorching, dry, restless burning heat. You can feel it from The Summer That Melted Everything.

It has an enticing premise; the local lawyer for the small town of Breathed, Ohio, invites the devil to stay in the midst of the hottest summer on record. A ragged urchin boy turns up- he’s Sal, supposedly the devil.

We see the events of the summer through the eyes of an older Fielding, the lawyer’s then 12 year old son, as he and Sal gambol through the woods and trees as the weeks escalate into a series of incredibly unfortunate events and tempers inflame.

I wanted to love this so much, and I’m still undecided. It’s very brilliant in parts and pretty terrible in others. Some passages struck emotion, some characters have really stayed with me. The relationship between Fielding and his hero-worshiped older brother was especially touching.

And some of it was so incredibly overblown that I couldn’t help but literally roll my eyes as I read it. Race, morality, familial relationships, and religion all messily melt into one another. And why is it set in the 80s?! Metaphor after metaphor, simile after simile: after a while I needed a cold drink and a dark room to escape the heat myself.

Read: to see if you like the swirling heat of the inferno (the prose!)

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