Fires in the Mirror (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
Fires in the Mirror Cover Image
Not On Our Shelves - Available to Order

Staff Reviews

In 1991, a Jewish-American man struck two Black American children with his car in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, killing one of them. Days later, a group of young Black men fatally attacked a Jewish-Australian university student. Three days of riots followed. Fires in the Mirror is a one-person play that captures the experiences and views of dozens of people involved in the incidents leading up to, during, and after the Crown Heights riots. In Smith's trademark fashion, she studied and refashioned their accounts to craft these monologues. Still relevant today, it is moving and important to read not just as art but to understand our history and change our future.

— Aurora


Derived from interviews with a wide range of  people who experienced or observed New York's 1991  Crown Heights racial riots, Fires In The  Mirror is as distinguished a work of  commentary on black-white tensions as it is a  work of drama.  In August 1991 simmering tensions in the racially polarized Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood of Crown Heights exploded into riots after a black boy was killed by a car in a rabbi's motorcade and a Jewish student was slain by blacks in retaliation.  Fires in the Mirror is dramatist Anna Deavere Smith's stunning exploration of the events and emotions leading up to and following the Crown Heights conflict.  Through her portrayals of more than two dozen Crown eights adversaries, victims, and eyewitnesses, using verbatim excerpts from their observations derived from interviews she conducted, Smith provides a brilliant, Rashoman-like documentary portrait of contemporary ethnic turmoil.

About the Author

Anna Deavere Smith is an actor, a teacher, a playwright, and the creator of an acclaimed series of one-woman plays based on her interviews with diverse voices from communities in crisis. She has won two Obie Awards; two Tony nominations for her play Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992; and a MacArthur Fellowship. Smith was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her play Fires in the Mirror. She has worked in television on The Practice and The West Wing, and has had roles in the films Philadelphia, The American President, and The Human Stain. Smith is the founder and director of the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue and is a professor at New York University, with an appointment in the Tisch School of the Arts and an affiliation with the School of Law.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780385470148
ISBN-10: 0385470142
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: September 1st, 1993
Pages: 208
Language: English