The Secrets of a Fire King

  • by Kim Edwards
  • Narrated by Bernadette Dunne
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Showcasing the intensity and perception of a truly gifted writer, this collection of stories by the author of the number-one New York Times best-seller The Memory Keeper's Daughter transports us to exotic locations as it follows the lives of those on the fringes of society: a fire-eater, an American and his Korean war bride, a juggler and a trapeze artist, and a cleaning woman whose life is interwoven with Marie Curie's. Each must confront, in dramatically differing ways, the barriers of time, place, and circumstance in that most universal of human experiences: the quest to discover, and understand, the elusive mysteries of love.


What the Critics Say

"The Secrets of a Fire King gives eloquence to an astonishing range of discoveries and leaves the reader entranced." (The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


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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- Marci

Unique thought-provoking stories

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.

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- Zu-Zu

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio