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short fiction short fiction

CIERA BURCH One City One Story: Yvonne

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"Yvonne" by Ciera Burch is the 2019 One City One Story all-city read selection for the city of Boston. One City One Story is an annual project of the Boston Book Festival, which prints and distributes 20,000 copies of the selected story for free throughout Greater Boston. Ciera Burch will appear at the Boston Book Festival for town hall discussions on both October 19 and October 20, in Copley Square and Dudley Square. For more information about the Boston Book Festival and One City One Story, please visit bostonbookfest.org. The story is read aloud by Henriette Lazaridis. (31:12)

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MAYA DETWILLER Toads

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Maya Detwiller's short story "Toads" explores the pains and rewards of adolescence through a child's habit of collecting toads. A giant supervising and creating miniature worlds, the story's narrator finds herself looking for a place--a place to fit, to belong, to grow in and away from. (10:35)

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S.D. JONES The Ideal Reasoner

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S.D. Jones' short story "The Ideal Reasoner" gives a comic and touching twist to relationship trouble, as a Shelockian AI creates upheaval in a marriage--only to bring about a surprising resolution. (22:19)

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BRADFORD PHILEN What's Heavy?

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"I don't have much time," says Dickie, the narrator of Bradford Philen's "What's Heavy". Dickie is a high-school kid, but he doesn't have much time--before his father's kidneys give out, before the coming hurricane hits, before Ophelia, the girl he's into, gives up on him. Dickie is under more than specific pressures on this one night when his many burdens weigh on him. (21:49)

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KAIA PREUS Next Life

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Frankie is a pet rat. And in Kaia Preus' story "Next Life," he is dying. As Zoe tries to soften his last moments, she tries, too, to find balance in her relationships with two men. Tenderness towards Frankie becomes her litmus test, but also the source of some surprising insights. (19:24)

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KARI LUND-TEIGEN Keep in Touch

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The Great Confusion has occurred, and in its aftermath, Bea is looking for her daughter. Her husband has gone missing, too. Kari Lund-Teigen's "Keep in Touch" vividly evokes a dystopian world, as well as the lengths to which its inhabitants will go to to communicate and connect. (14:09)

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ANDREA JOHNSTON Feeding Champion

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When a robber encounters a hungry Golden Retriever while breaking into a house, the encounter evokes a poignant monologue about how to treat a dog and how not to stock a refrigerator. And Andrea Johnston's "Feeding Champion" is about much more than that. It's about the responsibilities we have towards each other, and about how we do what's right even when promises change. (9:29)

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ALEC SOLOMITA Squirrel

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In 1970, the narrator and his several brothers drive off in a Duster to defend their mother's honor. The fact that most of them are high plays some role in the confusion that ensues. Alec Solomita's "Squirrel" is a tale of sibling allegiances and misunderstandings, told with tenderness and wit. (20:17)

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AMY LEE LILLARD Head Like a Hole

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The husband who narrates Amy Lee Lillard's story "Head Like a Hole" watches, puzzled, as a perfectly round hole grows in his backyard. The growing hole, and the wife's ongoing vigil, tell a poignant story of self, integrity, and, ultimately, connection. (20:50)

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MARSHA MCDONALD s w i m

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What is held, what holds you, in water or in air? Marsha McDonald's story "s w i m" raises and explores these questions through the story of a girl taught to swim by her uncle. Learning much more than that about her body's resilience, the narrator connects her experience to the terrors and enticements of deep water. (11:18)

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KATY LASELL Fen

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A swamp is home to an imagined panther named "Fen" in Kate Lassell's eponymous story. Narrated by a precocious kid named Judith, the story follows a father and daughter fighting to preserve a threatened marsh--and working to sustain their small family after a tragic loss. (11:52)

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PHIL SHRECK MAILBOX

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A thing as ordinary as a mailbox becomes the focus of all of one man's passions in Phil Shreck's eponymous story. Russell tilts not at windmills but at his mailboxes, old and new, and at a deep-seated sense of inadequacy. Shreck reads his darkly funny story aloud in a brilliant performance. (22:56)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction

poetry

under 10 min

under 20 min

under 30 min

under 40 min
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