Archive for the ‘Fire Island’ Category

Thunder Island by James Howard Kunstler

May 19, 2016



Andy Newmark is having the time of his life on Thunder Island, but the 1967 Summer of Love also brings with it some important lessons about growing up.

In this coming-of-age novel, set in the summer of 1967, 17-year-old Andy Newmark graduates from high school and lands a job at a run down beach club on the famous barrier island east of New York City. It’s the legendary summer of love in the USA with the Vietnam War ramping up in the background and on Thunder Island it’s all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It is Andy’s first time living away from home with no one to answer to but the hard-drinking board members of the rattletrap club. The threat of the military draft hangs over Andy as makes his way into the adult world.

The reader is carried along by Andy’s sense of exploration as he works, makes friends, surfs, and experiments with drugs, alcohol and sex. All the while, the fear of not being accepted by a college and therefore being drafted to fight in Vietnam hovers over him. Gradually overcoming personal conflicts, his parents divorce, his fear of failure and the social ills he encounters, the war, the prejudice he experiences as a Jew, the decadence of Thunder Island, by summer’s end, Andy feels comfortable with himself and the dimensions of the adult world he is entering.

Andy and his friends are likable, even if they seem as deeply characterized as the people in the rock songs that play everywhere on Thunder Island. And, like many novels of initiation, this is a simple story of innocence and discovery. Thunder Island has charm.

Steeped in the news and social events of the time as they appeared to young adults then, Thunder Island offers a sentimental, nostalgic version of adolescence in the late 60s.


James Howard Kunstler says: ‘The story takes place at a Hamptons-like beach resort town in 1967.  It’s about what happens to a New York City kid the summer after he graduates from high school, with the Vietnam War looming in the background.  Surfing, drugs, young love.’

This was one of James Howard Kunstler’s early novels, published some time before he became better known as a social critic and author of the acclaimed non-fiction books The Geography of Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic.


James Howard Kunstler is the author of many novels including World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Thunder Island, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, An Embarrassment of Riches, and many others.

He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

His non-fiction includes The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation.



Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island

March 14, 2016



Burt Hirschfeld

Burt Hirschfeld


Burt Hirschfeld (22 May 1923–3 December 2004) was the author of over fifty books, several of them best-sellers. Probably his best known (and best-selling) novels are his Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island.



Fire Island:

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Fire Island was the first of four novels set on the eponymous island. Fire Island: New York’s most beautiful beach resort… a sun-soaked playground for the bored sensation seekers.

Fire Island: where the wealthy, the sun worshippers, the hippies and the lonely housewives all flock in the summer. All come to find the freedom promised by the island.

Fire Island: where six friends share a summer house. Six people at their most vulnerable with ambitions they can’t hope to fulfil and hungers they can’t satisfy.



Cindy on Fire:

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Cindy on Fire is a sequel to Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island. In it, the author focuses on the life of Cindy Ashe from Fire Island. Like the first book, Cindy on Fire is a 500-plus page chronicle of the sex lives of the gone-to-seed sixties flower children, living on Fire Island. Cindy, the promiscuous teen of Fire Island, has grown up and is still very promiscuous.

Welcome to Cindy’s world – the decadent playground of society studs and jet-set perverts, of dirty old men lusting for naked young bodies and freaked-out hippies into acid rock sex scenes.

Follow Cindy’s search for fulfilment – out of her middle-class upbringing into the sordid glamour of international film making and on to a non-stop merry-go-round of exotic lovers. It’s a trip too hot to forget. And once you’ve Cindy Ashe, you’ll never forget her.


 Fire in the Embers:

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Fire in the Embers is a young writer’s fight for fame in a decadent society of instant success and fast failure.

Fire in the Embers tells of Mike Birns’ struggle to change the ocean-side bedrooms of Fire Island for the opulent offices of Hollywood, where eager girls are only too willing to trade their bodies to break into movies.

Fire in the Embers is about a man with too many easy women, too many long nights at the gaming tables and too much ambition to ignore the temptations.


Return to Fire Island:

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Fire Island – The East Coast playground for the beautiful achievers. They fight hard for success. Back on Fire Island, they enjoy the rewards.

Fire Island – A pleasure island where the sun comes up on last night’s lust. Where desire is hotter than the summer sun, and the warm nights are drenched in the fevered search for excitement.

Fire Island – Where the hot crowd comes to live out their fantasies.

In Return to Fire Island, Burt Hischfeld takes a look at the residents of Fire Island, and gives us a chronicle of the people who live and vacation where New York’s money and beauty buy every pleasure under the sun. And there’s a lot of money – and a lot of pleasures to be had.


Burt Hirschfeld is a very powerful writer, with a talent for good dialogue, exotic settings, and excellent character insights.


Many of his books are available here:


and here:

and there are reviews of a few of his books here:


Burt Hirschfeld’s Fire Island Tetralogy: Fire Island, Cindy on Fire, Fire in the Embers and Return to Fire Island.


© R J Dent (2016)