Novelist Don Winslow on going home

A photo of a man and a book cover.
Novelist Don Winslow launches a new epic crime trilogy with “City on Fire.”
Photo by Robert Gallagher. Book cover courtesy of publisher.

In classic literature, a hero goes forth to find great adventure and calamitous tragedy. But at the end of their journey, they often turn toward home.

Don Winslow uses Greek and Roman literature as his muse as he launches his new trilogy with the book, “City of Fire.” Set in Rhode Island in the late 1980s, it chronicles the clashes of two crime families, one Italian and one Irish, who control the state and have led a relatively peaceful coexistence — until a woman, reminiscent of Helen of Troy, fractures the truce and kicks off a brutal war.

His protagonist is Danny Ryan, an Aeneas-like character whose loyalty is both his greatest strength and his tragic flaw. Ryan is forced to grow from a street soldier into a ruthless leader in order to protect the people and the home he loves.

Winslow himself went home to write this novel. As he tells MPR News host Kerri Miller, he was eager to leave Rhode Island as a young man, and he’s happily exiled himself in San Diego for years. But to write “City of Fire,” he returned to the small fishing village where he was raised. That’s where their conversation begins. Listen to the whole thing by clicking the link above.

Guest:

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. 

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or RSS.

Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.