By Lynn Stegner
Kate Riley isn't the type of heroine we meet in so much American novels. Self-centered, shape-shifting, pushed from one guy to a different and one urban to the subsequent, she is all too real—but under no circumstances the unswerving and regular homebody of idealized womanhood. after we first come across 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 through the gravity of the process, 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 was once held captive to a mom long gone mad, via her grownup lifestyles, which unfolds as a captivating series of fellows, deserted kids, and perpetual move, Kate’s tale is one among desperation and noteworthy invention, a unusually American story, brilliantly narrated through certainly one of our most unusual writers. (20070413)
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Additional info for Because a Fire Was in My Head (Flyover Fiction)
The name felt so strangely intimate in her mouth, like an exotic new candy. ” His eyes dropped; he seemed unable to look at her face and focused instead on her knees pressed tensely together. As though he had already moved on to another subject, he repeated the word “reﬁnements,” but his voice drifted away. “Oh Tony, I wish we had met . . I’ve always felt so lonely. I wish . ” and she let her will swoon the instant he leaned over. A year later on a late November morning in 1949 Kate sat waiting in the Riley parlor for her friend, Jan Larsen, to come by with his kate 45 father’s Oldsmobile to take her to the station.
Colin arrived in 1922. And then in 1931, with the Depression beginning its slow deep swing across the decade, Kate appeared, red-haired, green-eyed Kate with her sassy temper and her dimples and her little bit of extra everywhere, blowing through their world like a warm Chinook in the dead of winter. Netherﬁeld’s barber waited until spring to die, as a ﬁnal kindness to his widow, they said. The wild crocus that spread down the almost imperceptible slopes of the vast prairie land swells, and the prairie rose, palest 24 kate pink, that grew along the coulee banks; the buttercups in the low areas, the tiger lilies and huge spikes of gladioli in the garden, the delicate sweet peas in the black earth on either side of the front stoop — all were making their annual appearances.
Evenings after supper tended to be better. The only times her mother could stand to look at Kate were when she was sick, but 40 kate after their solitary suppers, Fiona allowed Kate to wait upon her, to rub her feet or set her hair, or simply to agree, with a word or a sound, to her running appraisals of various neighbors and their shortcomings, none of whom, it seemed, could be trusted. And all talk found its way back to the old days with Hugh. “Mrs. Clay, that woman is a real nosy. She came in Sunday and didn’t know when to leave, it being a beautiful day and I had decided to get some sun, by the time she left it was too late .