The Secrets of a Fire King

The Secrets of a Fire King

3.47 (1,875 ratings by Goodreads)
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The characters in these stories are often separated from the mainstream - a juggler and a trapeze artist, a daughter whose mother is a public evangelist waging a wear against sin, a cleaning woman whose life is inexplicably tied to Marie Curie's. The stories they inhabit transcend the barriers of time to explore the universally driving force of our experience: the magnitude of human love. In "Spring, Mountain, Sea" a young American brings his Korean bride home after serving in the war, and finds himself isolated from both his own culture and the culture of his new family. In "Gold" a Malaysian rubber tapper becomes obsessed with the possibility of becoming as wealthy as the foreign landowners who visit his village, and in his quest for gold nearly destroys the enduring relationships that have shaped his life. In the title story, the narrator - a fire-eater in a circus - shows a careless disregard for a boy who comes to learn his trade and as a consequence brings about his own downfall. Taking us to exotic and remote places in America, Europe, and Asia, "The Secrets of a Fire King" is at once magical and profound, marking the extraordinary debut of a new voice in American fiction.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 255 pages
  • 130 x 208 x 12mm | 200g
  • The Penguin Press
  • United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0143112309
  • 9780143112303
  • 586,389

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Table of contents

The Secrets of a Fire KingThe Great Chain of Being
Spring, Mountain, Sea
A Gleaming in the Darkness
The Way It Felt to Be Falling
The Invitation
Aristotle's Lantern
The Secrets of a Fire King
Sky Juice
In the Garden
Rat Stories
The Story of My Life
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Review quote

"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
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About Kim Edwards

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.
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Rating details

1,875 ratings
3.47 out of 5 stars
5 18% (332)
4 31% (584)
3 35% (661)
2 12% (232)
1 4% (66)
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