Episode 13: Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma

Episode 13: Why We Came to the City by Kristopher Jansma

The city in question in Why We Came to the City is New York, where four friends -- George, Sara, Irene, and Jacob -- have all settled after college. George is an astronomer, Sara a journalist, Jacob a poet, Irene an artist. When the novel begins, Irene has just been to see a doctor about a strange lump under her eye, which turns out to be cancer. The first half of the novel chronicles Irene's decline, while she and her friends all grapple with her illness and the increasing certainty that she will die. The second half of the novel follows the friends for the two years after Irene's death, as their lives go on.

"[In the end,]" Kristopher Jansma tells us, "it's about what happens to the city when the characters aren't in it, after they've left it, when it's become a part of them, something they carry with them."

Guest readers Annie Thoms and Jessica Sager join host Cyd Oppenheimer to talk about pilgrimages and odysseys, 9/11, and what poet Yehuda ha-Levi has to do with it all.

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Episode 14: Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Episode 14: Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

Episode 12: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

Episode 12: Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia