The Secrets of a Fire King

The Secrets of a Fire King

3.5 7
by Kim Edwards
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In each of these elegant and mesmerizing stories, Edwards explores the lives of those who exist on the fringes of society--a fire-eater, an American and his Korean war bride, a juggler, and a trapeze artist.

Overview

In each of these elegant and mesmerizing stories, Edwards explores the lives of those who exist on the fringes of society--a fire-eater, an American and his Korean war bride, a juggler, and a trapeze artist.

Editorial Reviews

Scott Veale
The Secrets of a Fire King gives eloquence to [the characters'] astonishing range of discoveries, and leaves the reader entranced. —The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While many debuts rehash the author's personal life, Pushcart Prize winner Edwards presents a first collection of 11 short stories noteworthy for the range of their settings -- America, Europe, Asia -- and for the scope of the author's impressive imagination. Edwards uses the elements (fire, air, water, earth and metal) symbolically to ground her stories as characters move through the various landscapes she has created. An adolescent girl skydives during an emotional crisis; a pair of acrobats works out their private and professional balancing acts; and Madame Curie's cleaning woman becomes fascinated with radium. In the title story, a young carny fire-eater gets into a love quadrangle involving a revival preacher, a virginal country girl and her young brother, but the emotional climax is more than just the expected conflagration. On a quieter note, 'The Invitation' is a beautifully focused tale set in Malaysia, where the societal and the personal worlds clash. Though the book is full of invention, the narrative tone remains strangely constant throughout the stories, no matter the setting or the speaker. Not all of these stories fly, but when Edwards is at her best, her tales read like the work of a wise traveler who returns home with uncommon souvenirs from other lands.
Library Journal
Many of the award-winning stories in this first collection feature strong, pragmatic women as protagonists, usually motivated by love in its broadest sense: A 19-year-old finds hidden strength after skydiving with an unstable boyfriend; a lonely, uprooted Asian woman makes a life in America; the cleaning woman of a famous scientist idolizes her employer despite suffering physically because of his experiments; a wife connects best with her husband during the time of their greatest challenge. Edwards utilizes her perceptual ability and keen eye for detail to delineate believable characters, many of whom are facing unique challenges. Their haunting situations are effectively complemented by unusual settings in Asia, America and Europe. Recommended for all literary collections. -- Ellen R. Cohen, Rockville, Maryland
Scott Veale
The Secrets of a Fire King gives eloquence to [the characters'] astonishing range of discoveries, and leaves the reader entranced. -- The New York Times Book Review
From the Publisher
"Impeccable, a treasure . . . Edwards's brilliance is evident in the way she constructs a story."
-Chicago Tribune

"Stunning . . . [Edwards's] sinuous prose and endless empathy work their spell. . . . Radiant, original, and passionate, these are memorable stories."
-Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever

"The Secrets of a Fire King gives eloquence to an astonishing range of discoveries and leaves the reader entranced."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Beautifully focused ... [Edwards's] tales read like the work of a wise traveler who returns home with uncommon souvenirs from other lands."
-Publishers Weekly

"Striking ... powerful."
-The Boston Globe

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781597226004
Publisher:
Cengage Gale
Publication date:
04/28/2008
Series:
Wheeler Softcover Series
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
463
Product dimensions:
5.59(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.81(d)

Meet the Author

Kim Edwards has won numerous awards, including a Whiting Award and the Nelson Algren Award and most recently the Kentucky Literary Award for fiction. She is the author of a collection of short stories, The Secrets Of a Fire King, which was an alternate for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Zoetrope, Anteaus, Story, and The Paris Review and have received a National Magazine Awards for excellence in Fiction and a Pushcart Prize. A graduate of the Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, she currently teaches writing at the University of Kentucky. This is her first novel, which has been chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover title. She lives in Lexington, Kentucky with her husband and daughters.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Lexington, Kentucky
Date of Birth:
May 4, 1958
Place of Birth:
Killeen, Texas
Education:
A.A., Cayuga Community College; B.A., Colgate University; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop; M.A., University of Iowa
Website:
http://www.memorykeepersdaughter.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Secrets of a Fire King 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not typically a fan of stories because I think they're all rushed prose, but this book is great. Honest stories that allow the reader to continue to construct well beyond the confines of the pages. Great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a great book. Extemely well written and very unique, thought provoking plots. The characters are well thought out and extremely dynamic. Not rushed at all, very complete stories. Leaves you feeling fullfilled and inspired. Endings are suggestive but leave you in a comfortable place with the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago