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This is a collection of short stories, each more banal and trite than the last. Most of the stories I didn't care about the characters and was glad it was short, in others, if I did manage to care about the story it would end suddenly in a poor attempt at a poetic, abstract finish. The language is repetitive, the narration obvious and distracting. It was bad. I ended up finishing the whole thing, it got worse as it went along. Any single story would have been tolerable, but story after story of an almost identical rhythm and theme and style got very old.
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What other book might you compare The Secrets of a Fire King to and why?
I would not compare The Secrets of a Fire King to any other short story collection except perhaps Kate Atkinson's It's Not the End of the World, which I keep returning to again and again. Edwards' unique collection of stories begs to be revisited (in my case, listened to again). Each story is a universe--often based on at least one of the ancient Four Elements: Fire, Water, Air, Wind. I don't know if this is intentional, but it causes a linkage of themes in a very subtle way. Here the writing style of author Kim Edwards greatly exceeds The Memory Keeper's Daughter in my opinion. An occasional character do takes another character's face in her hands to make an important statement (a trademark from The Memory Keeper's Daughter). Otherwise, I was literally "blown away" by the creativity of these stories.
What about Bernadette Dunne’s performance did you like?
Outstanding performance and timing of transitions from one story to the next. It's really difficult for the reader to end one story and not begin the next. The stories are kept separate in one's mind, but many stories end with a cliff-hanger. Each story begins with a dramatically different character, point of view, setting, and time period. Must have been a challenge to prepare the reading. Great performance, BD!
If you could take any character from The Secrets of a Fire King out to dinner, who would it be and why?
Each one of the short story narrators was fascinating and deserves a free dinner!
Any additional comments?
Each of the stories is about a "Secret," not just the Fire King. Listen to these stories late at night in the dark before bedtime if you enjoy an escape to completely new experiences.