By Lynn Stegner
Kate Riley isn't the kind of heroine we meet in such a lot American novels. Self-centered, shape-shifting, pushed from one guy to a different and one urban to the following, she is all too real—but by no means the unswerving and regular homebody of idealized womanhood. once we first come upon her, Kate (or Katherine, or Kate of the Prairie, or Katrina) is ready to endure exploratory mind surgical procedure for a situation she herself has fabricated. Sobered by way of the gravity of the method, she commences a trip of reminiscence that takes us again to the Saskatchewan village the place she grew up and to the singular occasion that altered her ceaselessly and irrevocably set the process her life. From her adolescence, during which she used to be held captive to a mom long gone mad, via her grownup lifestyles, which unfolds as a enchanting series of fellows, deserted childrens, and perpetual move, Kate’s tale is one among desperation and noteworthy invention, a unusually American story, brilliantly narrated by means of one in all our most unique writers. (20070413)
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Extra resources for Because a Fire Was in My Head (Flyover Fiction)
Now it was just the one big thing she could look at; she kept walking around it and pointing to it in a quiet shocked way. “He’s going to die,” she told Kate. ” She was standing on the stairs, going up to him, and she had merely turned when Kate entered as if to tell her to put some water on, or to wash her hands — a triﬂe. Even her tone seemed to have nothing to do with her words. And so Kate replied, “Yes, Mother,” and went to ﬁnd Colin. That’s the story of it, her mind repeated. The next day John arrived, tall and thin, and always neatly though not too impeccably dressed, which would have drawn attention.
When you were a wee tot . ” There was a persuasive lilt in her voice, as if she actually entertained hopes of stopping this departure. “Mum, it’s all been arranged. John has let a room for me at a boarding house. The woman who runs it is his friend’s sister-inlaw. ” Kate inspected her ﬁngernails, discovered a bit of dirt, and dug it out with her thumbnail. “You’re a good nurse, I know,” she said with cold sincerity. “Nurse, yes, well . . there are the bills to be paying, Kate, when Dad died there was still the keeping up.
Kate had come downstairs and out onto the verandah, and looking down at her bare feet, feeling a hint of early warmth in the wood, the almost muggy mildness of the air, she decided to go further. He had died an hour or so earlier. She had heard, or seemed to remember hearing, a single note that did not sound human torn from her mother, then the rumbling voices of the men, her brothers, and then she had simply retreated back into sleep, hiding in its frayed edge like a wild animal in the grass beside the road where large unknowable things were passing with alarming speed.
Because a Fire Was in My Head (Flyover Fiction) by Lynn Stegner