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

 

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

Overview:

The true-life stories in this unique collection provide "a window into the American mind and heart" (The Daily News). One hundred and eighty voices - male and female, young and old, from all walks of life and all over the country - talk intimately to the reader. Combining great humor and pathos this remarkable selection of stories from the thousands submitted to NPR's Weekend All Things Considered National Story Project gives the reader a glimpse of America's soul in all its diversity.

Synopsis:

A truly captivating collection of 180 real stories written by NPR radio listeners—stories that, in editor Paul Auster's words, defy "our expectations about the world and reveal[ed] the mysterious and unknowable forces at work in our lives."

Annotation © Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Book Magazine

Two years ago, on National Public Radio's "Weekend All Things Considered," Auster introduced the National Story Project. In an attempt "to put together an archive of facts, a museum of American reality," he welcomed anyone to submit a story, following two rules: it must be true and it must be short. This book collects 179 stories-Auster calls them "reports from the frontlines of personal experience"-picked from over 4,000 entries. There is the unassuming yet beautiful portrait of a summer afternoon in a 1960s Manhattan neighborhood; the story of a man given leave after fifteen years in prison to attend his grandmother's funeral; and a homeless woman's account of her living situation. There are impossible coincidences, eerie omens and visions, and tales of love and war and family and death.
Ted Waitt

Excerpt:

I told the listeners that I was looking for stories. The stories had to be true, and they had to be short, but there would be no restrictions as to subject matter or style. What interested me most, I said, were stories that defied our expectations of the world, anecdotes that revealed the mysterious and unknowable forces at work in our lives, in our family histories, in our minds and bodies, in our souls . . . I was hoping to put together an archive of facts, a museum of American reality.

More than ever, I have come to appreciate how deeply and passionately most of us live within ourselves. Our attachments are ferocious. Our loves overwhelm us, define us, obliterate the boundaries between ourselves and others. —from the Prologue

So there was Mr. Bernhauser yelling at us to get the hell out of his tree, and my father asked him what the problem was. Mr. Bernhauser took a deep breath and launched into a diatribe about thieving kids, breakers of rules, takers of fruit, and monsters in general. I guess my father had had enough, for the next thing he did was shout at Mr. Bernhauser and tell him to drop dead. Mr. Bernhauser stopped screaming, looked at my father, turned bright red, then purple, grabbed his chest, turned gray, and slowly folded to the ground. I thought my father was God. That he could yell at a miserable old man and make him die on command was beyond my comprehension. —Robert Winnie Bonners Ferry, Idaho

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

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