The Secrets of a Fire King: 04/19/09
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, the themes or the protagonists.
It seems that Edwards has found one thing to write about no matter where or when she sets her stories: women are beaten down by the patriarchy. I'm not denying that women have been (and still are) being denied basic rights for one reason or another but it's not enough of a hook to tie a group of stories together. After the third or fourth story, Edward's pacing and characterization becomes predictable and that adds to the tedium of reading the book.