The Drum

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DAPHNE KALOTAY One City One Story: Relativity

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Our partners the Boston Book Festival chose Daphne Kalotay’s “Relativity” as the selection for the 2017 One City One Story project. The story appeared in print--for the first time--in free booklets available throughout Boston. But you can listen to Daphne read it aloud herself here--and only here--on The Drum. (33:46)

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ANDREA ROBERTSON The Greenbriar Ghost

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A house haunted by a mother's yearning for excitement is the setting for Andrea Robertson's "The Greenbriar Ghost". Named for a woman whose ghost does haunt the narrator's Southern town, Zona tries to find her own place in a world of signs and warnings, messages from beyond, and the sometimes more troubling messages from within her own family. (29:39)

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BHARATI MUKHERJEE The Going-Back Party

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A farewell gathering held by the Calcutta Heritage Society of Northern California is the starting point for Bharati Mukherjee's story "The Going-Back Party". Shefali Sinha watches as the actions of the guests reveal the envy, nostalgia, and uncertainty that direct their interactions. The story goes on to offer a wry and insightful meditation on distance and closeness, and on the ways in which our emotions can surprise us. (27:13)

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COLETTE SARTOR Daredevil

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In Colette Sartor's "Daredevil," a little girl becomes the catalyst for unsettling and then tragic events in the lives of a young mother, Grace, and her son Aidan. The story explores issues of faith, risk-taking, and the limits of sympathy, and looks at the many ways in which a home can be threatened. (35:41)

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CHRISTIANE ALSOP Presumed Guilty

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"What is it like to be the daughter of a Nazi?" That is the question Christiane Alsop sets out to answer in her essay "Presumed Guilty". Reflecting on her father's tales of his accounts during wartime Germany, contemplating her at-times strained relationship with her father over the years, and her own reactions to the ebb and flow of power, Christiane is torn by the equal tugs of resignation and revelation. Revelation wins out, as she conveys the moral, ethical, and personal challenges of living with that difficult question. (35:53)

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LYDIA MILLET Oh Pure And Radiant Heart first chapter

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Lydia Millet's novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart plucks the three scientists who were integral to the invention of the atom bomb: Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi as they watch history's first mushroom cloud rise over the desert on July 16th, 1945, and places them down in modern-day Santa Fe. One by one, the scientists are spotted by a shy librarian who becomes convinced of their authenticity. Entranced, bewildered, and overwhelmed by their significance as historical markers on the one hand, and their peculiar personalities on the other, she, to the dismay of her husband, devotes herself to them. Soon the scientists acquire a sugar daddy - a young pothead millionaire from Tokyo who bankrolls them. Heroes to some, lunatics or con artists to others, the scientists finally become messianic religious figureheads to fanatics, who believe Oppenheimer is the Second Coming. As the ever-growing convoy traverses the country in a fleet of RV's on a pilgrimage to the UN, the scientists wrestle with the legacy of their invention and their growing celebrity, while Ann and her husband struggle with the strain on their marriage, a personal journey married to a history of thermonuclear weapons. (29:30)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction

poetry

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under 20 min

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