Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Secrets of a Fire King: Stories” as Want to Read:
The Secrets of a Fire King: Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Secrets of a Fire King: Stories

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,494 ratings  ·  270 reviews
The first story collection from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Memory Keeper's Daughter.
Audio CD, 1 page
Published May 31st 2007 by Penguin Audio (first published 1997)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Secrets of a Fire King, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Secrets of a Fire King

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Aug 26, 2011 Teresa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: Tara
I can't remember when I first heard that a story should engage the reader in a 'suspension of disbelief,' and I can't remember the last time I read a collection of stories that fits this idea so well -- not because unusual things happen, but because the writing drew me in so fully that the experience of reading it felt dream-like. Each story is a fully-realized world unto itself, a perfect little capsule.

One story nailed so well for me how it felt to be a teenager in the 70's that I wasn't surpr
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 02, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Teresa Brader
Fourteen unforgettable stories of strong female characters. Flawless storytelling.

My first time to read a book by Kim Edwards. I did not read her The Memory Keeper's Daughter. The reason why I bought and read this book was the multiple recommendations I got from my friends, Teresa, Tara, and Joan Winnek who all rated this book with 5 stars.

That was in 2011. I actually bought this that year and read the first story, The Great Chain of Being. I thought it was good although a bit old-fashioned. It
This is one of those special surprises I found in a remainder bin, of all places. This will go down as another "best of" story collection for me. I went and looked at other reviews and was shocked at the low ratings it got. I can only imagine that the readers who read her more popular fiction in The Memory Keeper's Daughter were lost within her more literary stories. I did not read MKD, so can't comment, but that's the only reason that can account for the angry one stars.

Edwards is extremely ade
I wanted to like this book. But I really didn't. I picked it up because I had read The Memory Keeper's Daughter and wanted to read something else by the same author. The first few stories in the collection were okay, not great, but then I started to notice a pattern in the author's writing: the men were all villains and the women were all victims, which is not a flattering portrayal for either sex. I read about half of the stories and then finally gave up.
There are books that have substance, and there are books that are pure style. Not that there's anything wrong with style: see this short piece about Joyce and the "New-Agey claptrap" Paulo Coelho churns out.

But, it is exceedingly difficult to write a readable book that is pure style with, at the heart of it, very little substance. Edwards tries, and the result is a collection of short stories (fictional vignettes really) that falls far short of her debut novel, The Memory Keeper's daughter. The
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bhargavi Balachandran
A beautifully written book! Kim is a master at weaving strange ,unsettling tales alive with emotions.Most of the protagonists are women. The first few stories seemed similar, with common themes of death, redemption and loneliness. But as I read on , I felt that that stories kept getting better and better. A thin chord of melancholy runs through the stories ,but Kim's prowess with words helps one brush away the sadness in the stories and plough right on. I haven't read a better collection of stor ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This was mentioned somewhere and I had to request it interlibrary loan to read it, since it is out of print. The stories were original. My favorite was The Invitation, about a woman living in a foreign country for 30 years and still living as an outsider.
Joan Winnek
Sep 23, 2011 Joan Winnek rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of short stories
Recommended to Joan by: Teresa
This is one of the best short story collections I have ever read. Many thanks to Teresa for her excellent review.
Jason (RawBlurb)
I am not one who normally invests time in short stories. It is not that I dislike them, more that I find them unsatisfying. I get involved and dedicated to an idea and find it cut short. This is expected as it is the intent of the medium.

A result of this is that I either avoid them completely, or read them, and feel that my opinion is not a fair reflection of the work. So I rarely write reviews of collections like this.

This stated, Kim Edwards’ collection of shorts ‘The Secrets of a Fire King’ w
The Secrets of a Fire King is one of 14 well crafted stories told with brisk assurance,mostly from a first person perspective.Despite a uniformity of length and style and definate thematic similarities, all of the stories describe wildly different and unusual circumstances.Edwards skill is relentless as she catapults the reader into each scenario.Somehow we are immediately immersed in the commonplace of the bizarre situations articulated with such bland confidence that we can hardly challenge th ...more
I was excited to get three stories into the book and still be looking forward to what came next. Usually books of short stories start off well and then morph into mediocre disappointments for me. I loved and appreciated every story but one (only because I have a personal hatred for stories about couples who see the significant other cheating and say nothing-I can't even begin to relate to that). My very favorite was "Thirst", which reminds me of The Little Mermaid. I'm not sure if the main chara ...more
As with most every short story collection (save Hempel, Cheever, Munro, and Robison) waffled about how many stars to give this. Some of the stories are utterly superb (and so worthy of five stars), and a few others are merely good (three, maybe), so we'll average 'em.

There's a thoroughness to the evocation of women and of the world that I admire enormously and that times tried my patience (I like swifter voices). Really notable, though, for the wide range of these stories, and for their insiste
Hershey Go
i was quite wary of picking this book up. but later i realized that it was worth it. The stories inside are short but full of meaning. THey are written beautifully and each story doesn't really have an ending--it's up to you to conclude, or end, with your own imagination. While reading this book I felt like i was apart from reality--such was the beauty of the way it was written. The author, Kim Edwards, knows how keep her reader interested and usually throws endings that makes you wonder on life ...more
Melissa Stacy
A fascinating collection of short stories published in 1997. These stories are very different from a lot of award-winning "post-postmodern" contemporary short fiction in that they are all straightforward to read, and all of these stories contain plot. Yes, you heard that correctly-- these short stories have actual PLOTS in them. And they aren't at all difficult to read. (!!!) I was amazed!! These stories are truly a delight!

"A Gleaming in the Darkness" stars Marie Curie, a gorgeous tale. "Balan
Beautiful imagery, clean writing, and well crafted plots mark this collection of short stories. However, the writing is at times so clinical and cool that I felt too removed from the characters, and some of the stories left me emotionally unsatisfied. I would recommend it to read once and also as a tool to learn elements of the craft of writing, but it's not a book you could revisit often. The only story that really resonated with me was "The Way It Felt To be Falling"
An Odd1
1 The Great Chain of Being
Narrator Eshlaini, seventh of thirteen "the first girl" p 2. Her father calls all children by other names, her Rohila, for an insane grandmother, so he can reject suitors, keep her home to care for him. In compensation, she asks him to put in writing his gift of this small house and property. She forces him to apologize when he is dying, in his eighties. The property has escalated in value, but she rejects her brothers' attempts get the land back. She calls herself Eshl
Banafsheh Serov
I dislike short stories. They either finish too quickly or end abruptly, giving the impression of being abandoned half way through.
The standout story in this collection is the one about Mde Curie, which is close to the most perfect short story I've read. The rest meandered between okay & yawn (or maybe meh).
I am a fan of short stories to begin with but these were extremely well written, unique and thought provoking. Loved it.
Lestari Hairul
I don't know what the fuck the rest of the reviewers are on but this is a really well-written collection of short stories. The author has even managed to, quite impressively, capture the nuances of each different culture she uses as a setting. Quite chuffed too that Malay culture is represented; none are exoticised, the glaring ugliness and beauty are both shown unflinchingly. I like the strange dreaminess of a lot of them. If you want straightforward fiction with happy endings and satisfying co ...more
The Secrets of a Fire King
By Kim Edwards
255pp New York, New York
Penguin Group (USA) inc. $14.00
ISBN: 978-0-14-311230-3

The Secrets of a Fire King is a wonderful collection of short stories portraying the lives of people who you don’t find in New York City today. There are stories about difference, family problems, and relationships. You will find yourself feeling bad for the people who suffer and feeling happy for the people who are finally free of conflict. You will surely find yourself engaged
Megan Anderson
This is a book of short stories. Some of them are amazing, some of them not so much. Still worth reading cover to cover.

This was the only book that I got to from the stacks in September (I’m reading through all of our color-coded book stacks one color at a time).

The stories are incredibly varied. The characters range over many cultures, age ranges, and are of both genders. Edwards must have a deep understanding of human nature to make such a diverse character list believable. The stories focus o
Min Yee
This book contains of fourteen different stories. Each story contains an eccentric character and most of the stories are very random. Sometimes, I don’t really understand what is the main idea that the author wants to tell to the readers. The stories were written in simple English with complicated plots. Some of the random stories are such as rats, birthday invitation, parachute, gold digging, and garden.

I feel none of the stories are interesting and I don’t understand what is the conclusion of
Before The Memory Keepers Daughter skyrocketed up the best-seller list, author Kim Edwards wrote another book, a collection of short stories.

We all know how much I love a good short story collection, and since I adored The Memory Keepers Daughter, I was interested in reading this one. I was even more interested when I spotted the audio at the library.

Before I start with the commentary, I gotta say something about that cover.

It kind of creeps me out, if I do say so myself. It's too ... embryot
Sarah Sammis
I think my enjoyment of The Memory Keeper's Daughter was a fluke. I found The Secrets of a Fire King, a collection of short stories by Kim Edwards a chore to read.

The short story collection has fourteen short stories. They are set in very different places and in very different eras. They all focus around a supposedly strong female narrator who must prove herself during impossible situations. With the exception of "Spring, Mountain, Sea" and "A Gleaming in the Darkness" I didn't like the stories,
David Grimaud
This is a collection of short stories by the author of the MEMORY KEEPER'S DAUGHTER, a book I have considered reading, but not yet added to my long queue of "books to read." I found THE SECRETS OF A FIRE KING in the bargain audio-bin at Books-A-Million and decided to try it.

There are fourteen stories. Alienation is a common theme, and many of the settings are in, or have ties to, the Asian Pacific. (I believe I read the author lived there once.) Many of the stories are about a female that is tre
Last book for 2013. Not really a good book to end the year but I guess beggars can't be choosers. Been slacking off this year. I should've and could've read more.

Anyway some of the stories in here are good. And I can't help to point out how much the stories of Malays are in here. (Typical Malaysian I know). But yeah at some point I was wondering, did the author spend some time in Malaysia? The description of the stories are really close to the heart.

The author is really descriptive, telling th
This book is 14 short stories. Now, I'm not one for reading short stories, actually I usually find them disappointing and boring. Not in this case. I really loved this book and I'm really surprised at a number of people who rated this book so low. I cannot understand why, other than that the stories didn't always end on a happy note, actually, most ended that way. While some stories were just average, the majority of them were really good. I found Kim Edwards' writing very intelligent. None of h ...more
A beautifully written book that kept my attention in short spurts. True, some of the stories lacked resolution. I don't mind this, however, as the general mood/feeling of each story made me pause and think. The vivid imagery alone is worth picking up this book - it burst with color of various settings and times. I felt like I was reading the fairy tales of my childhood.
This was an excellent collection of short stories. The writing alone, was lovely, engaging and incredibly well done. At times, it reminded of the same style and flare of another short story author I enjoy. This was a case where I can't believe I had the book sitting on myself as long as it was, because I really missed out on something.

As with most short stories, I liked some more than others, but the writing alone made all of them well worth reading. I'm looking forward to reading the novel I h
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Monstress
  • The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits: Stories
  • Shadow Baby
  • What You Have Left
  • You Are Not a Stranger Here
  • Whites
  • We So Seldom Look on Love
  • The Laws of Evening: Stories
  • A Few Short Notes on Tropical Butterflies
  • The Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-six
  • Esther Stories
  • 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker
  • A Ship Made Of Paper
  • Hank & Chloe
  • Walking Through Walls
  • Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape from Tibet
  • One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead
  • Breaking the Ice
Kim Edwards grew up in Skaneateles, New York, in the heart of the Finger Lakes region. The oldest of four children, she graduated from Colgate University and the University of Iowa, where she received an MFA in Fiction and an MA in Linguistics. After completing her graduate work, she went with her husband to Asia, where they spent the next five years teaching, first on the rural east coast of Mala ...more
More about Kim Edwards...
The Memory Keeper's Daughter The Lake of Dreams Un giorno mi troverai (Garzanti Narratori) SUMMER BOOK CLUB 24MXPPK 12 Short Stories and Their Making: An Anthology with Interviews

Share This Book

“I imagine that she flushes, seeing him there, for she is at that age when even the most commonplace boys take on a sense of mystery. And this boy is not ordinary. He is wild and he has strange and fanciful perceptions. [p. 153]” 1 likes
“The year was 1922, and the Curies had transformed plain earth into something rare and unimagined. A secret of the universe has been revealed, and a restless world dreamed of transformation. [p. 205]” 1 likes
More quotes…