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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wednesday, July 28 - Christie Hodgen

This week on Bibliocracy: Telling one story in a novel is challenging enough, engaging enough, but in her novel of five interconnected stories --- elegies for an uncle, a town boy, a college dorm-mate, a heartbroken aesthete, and a doomed mother --- author Christie Hodgen creates a remarkable second and third project: fictional biographies which, in their telling, also take us on the life-journey of our narrator and, in its totality, a book which works almost like a puzzle until the final chapter. Will the narrator-heroine, Mary Murphy, find her own story as she offers portraits, judgments, remembrances of those she survives? Will she find her missing sister and reconcile with her nutty, much-married and now rehabilitated mother? Elegies for the Brokenhearted is a novel so perfect, fluid and yet intimate in its characterizations, that this reader wished, perversely, for more dead people (!), just for the pleasure of reading Ms. Hodgen’s remarkable prose. Christie Hodgen’s short stories appear widely, and she is author of Hello, I Must Be Going and A Jeweler’s Eye for Flaw. She won the AWP Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize and teaches at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. This is one of my favorite novels in a while. I hope that, like me, you will after reading and delighting in this book want to go back and read Hodgen’s earlier work. Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or anytime you like, free, as a download at Select “show” and find recent Bibs.

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