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THE SECRETS OF A FIRE KING: STORIES By: Kim Edwards April 13, 2011

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.

     This is a set of beautifully written short stories which one continues to think about long after reading. The one about Madame Curie and her maid, especially, continues to haunt this reader. The collection fits together based on the diversity of its characters, and the fact that they each live not in, but on the fringes of the society where they are placed by the author; they range from an unhappy, uprooted Korean war bride through, you guessed it, circus performers. Even while wanting to savor the last story read, I was straining to get to the next. As always, the Lycan Librarian will not reveal and spoil plot lines for you, but, be advised, this is a collection you will want to purchase, so you can read these powerful stories again and again as they creep back into your memory. I don’t imagine they’ll be any less poignant the second time around. (Sorry, you can’t really click to see inside the book. I could only find the hard cover image on Amazon, and whenever I read a book, I try my best to post a picture of the particular edition that I read.)

     This isn’t a new book — it’s from 1997, but I found it at my local library’s book sale a while back and finally got around to picking it up when I had a craving for some good short stories.  Why it was cancelled is beyond my comprehension. This is a perfect example of why library book sales are such an excellent place to pick up reading material. Libraries are selective of their purchases, so often have a wide and respectable assortment of material. Additionally, the prices are usually low, and any money spent goes to a very worthy cause. With the recent closures of so many bookstores, the library book sales are a very good habit for any bibliophile to adopt.

     If the name Kim Edwards is familiar to you, she wrote THE MEMORY KEEPER’S DAUGHTER. Everyone I know who read TMKD loved it, but the premise of that one had never appealed to me. But now, I just may pick it up, for the writing alone, after jumping in and breezing through this utterly fantastic short story collection, and landing at the end completely entertained and satisfied.



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