Study Guide

Nine Perfect Strangers Fire

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Aside from the candles scattered throughout Tranquillum House, we only encounter fire once. And once is enough. It’s when Masha tries to convince her guests she’s burning the house down with them inside.

Yeah, she’s got issues:

She had begun a new life when she emigrated, when her son died, and again when her heart stopped. She could do it again.

Sell this property and buy an apartment in the city.

Or … She studied the tiny flickering flame.

The answer was right there. (65.86-89)

Fire has been viewed as a symbol of death and rebirth in some cultures, which is why it makes sense that Masha sees it as a solution to her problems at Tranquillum House. If she can force her guests to face their own death, they’ll emerge from the “flames” transformed. Then they’ll burst out of the yoga studio and shower her with praise and gratitude for her life-changing methods.

Yeah, it sounded better in Masha’s head, too.

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