Because a Fire Was in My Head
Kate Riley is not the sort of heroine we meet in most American novels. Self-centered, shape-shifting, driven from one man to another and one city to the next, she is all too real—but not at all the loyal and steady homebody of idealized womanhood. When we first encounter her, Kate (or Katherine, or Kate of the Prairie, or Katrina) is about to undergo exploratory brain surgery for a condition she herself has fabricated. Sobered by the gravity of the procedure, she commences a journey of memory th ...more
Since the novel's anti-heroine is unabashedly self-absorbed and unsympathetic, convincing a reader to care for her is a true accomplishment. Four-time novelist Lynn Stegner pulls it off with panache. Yes, it has a slow beginning, and it does trace a grim and troubling downward spiral. Still, it rings true. Emotionally troubled characters are a dime a dozen, but Kate Riley's sexual longings and American heart put her in a class of her own. The New York Times Book Review even goes on record to say...more
I really liked the writing. Quite beautiful and moving, and I was impressed with the vignettes Stegner used to tell the story. She was able reveal much about the characters through brief interactions.
Based on the other reviews here, I have the feeling that if I'd kept reading, I woul ...more