Review: The Secrets of the Fire King

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The Secrets of a Fire KingThe Secrets of a Fire King by Kim Edwards
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is exactly the kind of book I enjoy. It follows the tradition of other favorite collections like The Shell Collector and Ship Fever: Stories. Imagine the cleaning lady at Marie Curie’s laboratory, who at night marveled at the glass jars of faintly bluish glowing “dirt,” with mangled, cancerous hands on her deathbed from picking them up out of wonder and curiosity. Imagine a mother who, tired of her marriage and family, drinks seawater ravenously, to the detriment of her health, because she so misses the freedom of swimming alone in the ocean. I love these creative little windows into other worlds that short stories are so known for. But Edwards goes beyond the traditional formulaic short story and does what only the masters of the craft do: Presenting crisp, emotional, tragic lives with flowing literary prose. I am definitely putting her novel, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, on my list (though don’t I know I’ve read my fair share of mediocre novels by masterful short story authors).

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Victor A. Davis has always loved reading and writing short stories. He is an avid hiker and even when away from the world of laptops and wifi, keeps a pocket paperback and a handwritten journal to keep him company on trail. He is the author of two short story collections, Grains of Sand and The Gingerbread Collection. Join his Mailing List for special announcements about upcoming works.