I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project

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Paul Auster
Henry Holt and Company, Sep 7, 2002 - Literary Collections - 416 pages
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One of America's foremost writers collects the best stories submitted to NPR's popular monthly show--and illuminates the powerful role storytelling plays in all our lives

When Paul Auster and NPR's Weekend All Things Considered introduced The National Story Project, the response was overwhelming. Not only was the monthly show a critical success, but the volume of submissions was astounding. Letters, emails, faxes poured in on a daily basis- more than 4,000 of them by the time the project celebrated its first birthday. Everyone, it seemed, had a story to tell.

I Thought My Father Was God gathers 180 of these personal, true-life accounts in a single, powerful volume. They come from people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life. Half of the contributors are men; half are women. They live in cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and they come from 42 different states. Most of the stories are short, vivid bits of narrative, combining the ordinary and the extraordinary, and most describe a single incident in the writer's life. Some are funny, like the story of how a Ku Klux Klan member's beloved dog rushed out into the street during the annual KKK parade and unmasked his owner as the whole town looked on. Some are mysterious, like the story of a woman who watched a white chicken walk purposefully down a street in Portland, Oregon, hop up some porch steps, knock on the door-and calmly enter the house. Many involve the closing of a loop, like the one about the woman who lost her mother's ashes in a burglary and recovered them five years later from the mortuary of a local church.

Hilarious blunders, wrenching coincidences, brushes with death, miraculous encounters, improbable ironies, premonitions, sorrows, pains, dreams-this singular collection encompasses an extraordinary range of settings, time periods, and subjects. A testament to the important role storytelling plays in all our lives, I Thought My Father Was God offers a rare glimpse into the American soul.

 

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Contents

Rascal Yofe Huffman
4
Two Loves Will Coffey
17
Star and Chain Steve Lacheen
33
Case Closed Jerry Hoke
46
Moccasins Fr Keith Clark
59
Rainout Stan Betikoski
75
Chris Edwina Portelle Romero
89
Double Sadness Martha Russell Hsu
103
August 1945 Robert C North and Dorothy North
222
A Walk in the Sun Donald Zucker
235
The Mysteries ofTortellini Kristina Streeter
249
Lace Gloves Karen Cycon Dennody
262
The Fortune Cookie Sharli LandPolanco
276
My Best Friend Olga Hardman
290
Cardiac Arrests Sherwin Waldman
293
Connecting with Phil Tom Sellew
308

Act of Memory Mary Grace Dembeck
120
My First Day in Priest Clothes Eugene OBrien
133
Lee Ann and Holly Ann Holly A Heffelbower
139
Dancing on Seventyfourth Street Catherine Austin Alexander
153
The Iceman of Market Street R C Van Kooy
168
Small World Paul K Humiston
183
Snow Juliana C Nash
202
Betting on Uncle Ijouie Jeanne W Halpern
216
Blood James Sharpsteen
321
My Fathers Dream Mary McCalhnn
335
Sunday Drive Boh Ayers
350
Where in the World Is Era Rose Rodosta? Carolyn Brasher
363
Peter Mark Gover
365
An Average Sadness Ameni Rozsa
378
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About the author (2002)

Paul Auster's most recent novel, Timbuktu, was a national bestseller. He began the National Story Project in 1999. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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