Kate Riley is an unusual heroine, a beautiful, ambitious woman who rejects the conventional roles of women in her 1950s rural community. The premature death of her beloved father, coupled with a corrosive relationship with her mother, prompts Kate to flee her hometown in desperate search of happiness and approval. Set against the backdrop of the sweeping social and economic changes that followed World War II, the story takes us from the plains of rural Saskatchewan to the bustling cities of Vancouver, Seattle, and San Francisco—through a succession of lovers, and of children born and abandoned, as Kate makes one bad choice after another.
“[S]tunning … The poetic detail of Stegner’s sentences—not to mention her wanton protagonist—is reminiscent of the novels of John Updike…. Because a Fire Was in My Head, her most ambitious novel so far, ought to attract for Stegner the wider audience she so richly deserves.”
New York Times Book Review, “Editor’s Choice”