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JOANNA RAKOFF Reading with Edan Lepucki at Brookline Booksmith

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Joanna Rakoff reads from My Salinger Year and Edan Lepucki reads from California at Brookline Booksmith. Listen in as these two writers read from their work and answer questions about driving through LA during a blackout that seems to presage apocalypse, about the experience of working in J.D. Salinger's agency, and about the shift from novel to memoir, third-person to first. (49:11)

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CATHI HANAUER excerpt from Gone

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A husband's disappearance while taking the babysitter home precipitates the crisis in this excerpt from Cathi Hanauer's novel Gone. Eve Adams embarks on a first day of her new normal, fending off inquiries from children surly and clueless, and navigating the too-zen-to-be-mean streets of her artsy Massachusetts town. (9:50)

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LISA BORDERS excerpt from The Fifty-First State

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A handful of sentences form the opening chapter of Lisa Borders' novel The Fifty-First State, setting her characters on an inexorable course towards tragedy and connection, and sending her readers into a world of lush detail and intensely-felt emotion. Hallie and Josh Corson share a father but little else—until a grisly highway accident at the novel's outset leaves them both without parents. Forced to come together on the family's struggling tomato farm, Josh and Hallie grow in ways they never expected, and discover that even in death’s wake, lives can change for the better. (4:22)

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KIM TRIEDMAN excerpt from The Other Room

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A pink mitten and a balky boiler are some of the poignant details of this scene from Kim Triedman's novel The Other Room. The loss of a child registers through the eerie combination of the normal and the uncanny, adding up to mounting pressure on the husband and wife who have survived. (5:55)

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RODDY DOYLE Reading at Brookline Booksmith

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Booker-Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle reads from his latest novel The Guts in this recording of an event at Brookline Booksmith on February 6, 2014. Jimmy Rabitte, the protagonist of Doyle's first novel The Commitments, is now middle-aged and facing the difficult task of telling his wife he has cancer. Doyle's trademark spare and witty dialogue anchors the scene. Following the reading, Doyle discusses topics ranging from how he writes dialogue, the Irish recession, and footballer Wayne Rooney, all in his inimitably wry style. (46:28)

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MATTHEW SALESSES Excerpt from The Last Repatriate

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Matthew Salesses' novella The Last Repatriate tells the story of Theodore Dickerson, a prisoner who eventually returns to his home in Virginia in the midst of the McCarthy Era. He is welcomed back as a hero, though he has not returned unscathed. The lasting effects of the POW camp and troubles with his ex-fiancée complicate his new marriage as he struggles to readjust to the Virginia he holds dear. The letter from Teddy's fiancée is read by Joanne Barker. (11:09)

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PABLO MEDINA excerpt from Cubop City Blues

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With rich language and striking images, the narrator of Pablo Medina's novel Cubop City Blues introduces himself, from the moment of his birth. His mother's infidelity, his aunts' various devotions, his father's cuckolding, and the rhythms and voices of this creative and created version of New York City--all of them come powerfully to life in this vivid excerpt. (7:33)

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ANN LEARY excerpt from The Good House

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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. (10:07)

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LADETTE RANDOLPH Excerpt from Haven's Wake

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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. (12:35)

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HENRIETTE LAZARIDIS The Clover House, Chapter One

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Henriette Lazaridis Power's novel The Clover House follows a Greek-American woman who discovers the secrets to a wartime family tragedy when she returns to Greece to sift through an inheritance. In the novel's first chapter, Callie Brown determines to make the trip to Greece, motivated by her mother's attempts to keep her away, and by her own unease about her recent engagement. For more about the book, visit www.henriettepower.com. (47:32)

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JESSICA KEENER JESSICA KEENER--Excerpt from Night Swim

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Set in affluent Boston surburbia in 1970, Night Swim follows the Kunitz family as tragedy breaks through the country-club lifestyle masking an array of simmering, emotional troubles. (12:52)

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ILIE RUBY Excerpt from The Salt God's Daughter

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Ilie Ruby's novel The Salt God's Daughter tells the story of Ruthie and Naida, a mother and daughter bound by loss, by violence, and by family mysteries. In this excerpt, Ruthie describes a storm that sends her, her mother, and her sister into a desperate escape, even as internal storms continue to pursue this small and vulnerable family. (13:18)

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