'Signal Fires' by Dani Shapiro.

The bestselling and award-winning new novel ‘Signal Fires’ by Dani Shapiro. Image via Twitter @hannahtinti.

‘Signal Fires’ – a poignant novel of family grief and forgiveness

From bestselling author Dani Shapiro comes a gripping novel which explores the dark side of fate, family secrets and the power of forgiveness.

'Signal Fires' by Dani Shapiro.

The bestselling and award-winning new novel ‘Signal Fires’ by Dani Shapiro. Image via Twitter @hannahtinti.

Dani Shapiro, the author behind bestsellers like Inheritance and Still Writing, is back with another award-winning novel titled Signal Fires. This is Shapiro’s first fiction novel in fifteen years. Named the best book of 2022 by Time Magazine and The Washington Post, Signal Fires tells a heart-wrenching story about love, loss and family trauma.

Upon its release, Signal Fires became an instant bestseller and was later awarded the National Jewish Book Award. According to Shapiro’s website, this novel is also being developed into a TV adaptation.

Signal Fires is definitely worth all the attention and accolades it is receiving. With tender explorations of the haunting power of generational pain, Shapiro’s newest novel invites readers into the heart of one family’s battle with the past.


Signal Fires is the perfect book club pick because there is so much more to it than meets the eye. The story continues to develop even long after you have turned the last page. The characters stay with you and force you to think about your own life.

Shapiro’s power as a writer lies in her characters. In just a few lines, she creates people who seem so real that the reader forgets they are fictional. The characters are truly what drives Signal Fires. Their rich inner worlds and the rawness of their pain makes this novel a must-read.

Even though the plot of Signal Fires is slow at times, it is worth it. You will not regret picking up this novel but it is a good idea to keep the tissues nearby.

“An urgent and compassionate meditation on memory, time and space. In Shapiro’s elegant convergence of narrative threads, she creates a world that’s as wrenching as it is wonderous”.

Ruth Ozeki – winner of the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction


Signal Fires opens on a summer night in 1985. Three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything on Division Street changes. Each of their lives, and that of Ben Wilf, a young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered.

For the Wilf family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.

On Division Street, time has moved on. When the Shenkmans arrive—a young couple expecting a baby boy—it is as if the accident never happened. But when Waldo, the Shenkmans’ brilliant, lonely son who marvels at the beauty of the world and has a native ability to find connections in everything, befriends Dr. Wilf, now retired and struggling with his wife’s decline, past events come hurtling back in ways no one could ever have foreseen.

In Dani Shapiro’s first work of fiction in fifteen years, she returns to the form that launched her career, with a riveting, deeply felt novel that examines the ties that bind families together—and the secrets that can break them apart. Signal Fires is a work of haunting beauty by a master storyteller.


Image via Twitter @poetswritersinc.

Dani Shapiro is the bestselling author of eleven books, and the creator of the hit podcast Family Secrets.

Her memoir, Inheritance, was an instant New York Times bestseller, and was named a best book of 2019 by Wired, Elle Magazine and Vanity Fair. Her most recent novel, Signal Fires, won the esteemed National Jewish Book Award. Shapiro also won this award for her memoir, Inheritance. Her non-fiction book on the process and craft of writing, Still Writing, has been reissued on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

Signal Fires is published by Vintage Books and is available for purchase from Exclusive Books stores for R340.