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theme: crisis theme: crisis

PATRICIA BAKER Raking the Lizards

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There is a woman raking lizards down from a tree. There is a family to care for. There are errands to run. Our narrator wages war against the lizards who return each day, undefeated, but she fights other things, too, in a much more complicated battle.

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CHRISTI CRAIG In Texas

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In her essay "In Texas," Christi Craig recalls her teenaged self facing a dilemma of faith and family. Should she admit to her grandmother that she cannot speak in tongues, or should she pretend she can so as not to reveal her distance from the religion that has always bound them together? Looking back, Craig examines the connections that have endured.

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JAMES ENGLISH The Rose Tradition

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In this subtle and tense story, James English sets us down among the complicated relationships within a family and a neighborhood and lets us watch a betrayal unfold. It's a variation of the tale of a stranger coming to town--only the stranger is already there, and the town is someone's family.

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CATHERINE ELCIK What The Doctor Taught Me

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When family crises buffeted author Catherine Elcik with grief and stress, she found solace in the unlikeliest of places: Doctor Who. Or perhaps not so unlikely. For from this television program about time-shifting and agelessness and loss and endurance, Elcik learned powerful lessons about coping with the thieveries of illness and death. In this beautiful essay, Elcik offers wisdom to all of us--Whovians or not.

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KL PEREIRA The Children's House

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A group of children and their slightly inattentive parents are the time-honored ingredients for narrative mischief. In KL Pereira's "The Children's House," the mischief involves the slipping and sliding boundaries between one space and another, one family and another, one person and another. Pereira evokes an eerily calm world in which families and identities can be pilfered and misplaced as easily as an object from a mantlepiece.

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short fictionsmallfamilycrisis

MARIA MUTCH Appetites

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Serotonin notwithstanding, Thanksgiving makes us hungry. Despite the torpor of the holiday, we become agitated, restless. Maria Mutch's "Appetites" immerses us in the restless and agitated world of a journey like so many on Thanksgiving: a trip to grandmother's house. In this short story first audio-published in The Drum in May 2014, Mutch revises the old tale, skewing fairy-tale familiarity with modern distortions.

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