under 20 min
excerpt from The Good Housedownload
Hildy, the narrator of Ann Leary's The Good House, is a descendant of a Salem witch, making her living selling real estate in the fictional Wendover of Massachusetts' Gold Coast. In this excerpt from Leary's novel, Hildy demonstrates her power to judge character, background, and aspiration simply by looking at the landscaping of a seaside mansion. Moving within but also slightly outside the culture of wealth and ambition, Hildy assesses the tensions and anxieties of her surroundings with acerbic wit.
Ed Bull's "Seed" revisits the shocking events of August 1, 1966 when Charles Whitman shot seventeen people from the University of Texas clock tower. Part essay, part invention, Bull's piece bring us into the events, allowing us to ponder Whitman himself and the nature of his horrible crime and the nature of violence.
Excerpt from Haven's Wakedownload
Ladette Randolph's novel Haven's Wake tells the story of a family reunited on the family farm after the death of their patriarch. Set in a Mennonite community in eastern Nebraska, the novel illuminates themes of faith and loyalty, belief and imagination, family and allegiance. In this excerpt, a son discovers the strange clay figures his father was building beside the lake where met his death.
Is Fiction Empathy's Best Hope?download
Ron MacLean's essay examines how stories connect us, and how the imagination becomes a powerful force in the creation of empathy. Citing writers Rabindranath Tagore, Ian McEwan, Tim O'Brien, and Marilynne Robinson, among others, MacLean reminds us that empathy is not just a desired effect of fiction, but a social and cultural need. In "Is Fiction Empathy's Best Hope?" MacLean offers us the hope and the promise of literature.
The Mating Behavior of Great Titsdownload
Joshua Malbin creates an avian drama for his short story "The Mating Behavior of Great Tits". It's a new genre, possibly with this story as its only example. Malbin's unusual story sets a drama of relationships and family in the world of birds, immersing the listener in one bird's struggle to establish a family and a place in his world.
Lisa Duffy's "What Matters" explores our notions of exactly that in the telling and remembering of the events surrounding the brief disappearance of the narrator's son. When the little boy gets lost in Central Park, his absence sets off a chain of events both in the search for him and in the narrator's search for the meaning of the events as she relives them. Trust, fidelity, and truth are just some of the ideas Duffy mines for this compelling and compellingly told story.