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WYPR Arts

Remember when 1992 was the Year of the Woman? Yeah, that was a thing, although ever-intrepid Sen. Barbara Mikulski shrugged it off at the time, saying, "Calling 1992 the Year of the Woman makes it sound like the Year of the Caribou or the Year of the Asparagus. We're not a fad, a fancy, or a year."

For decades, the two strong-willed women in Yewande Omotoso's new novel were committed enemies. Hortensia is black, Marion is white and both are widows in their 80s. Their properties — in an affluent neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa — sit next door to one another. Then, one day, an accident brings them together.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

We planned to have Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO's Girls, as our Not My Job guest this week, but a snowstorm kept her from joining us at the last minute, so we quickly had to find someone without Thursday evening plans.

Late Show host Stephen Colbert very graciously jumped in to play our game, but we didn't have time to write new questions for him, so we'll just ask him all the questions we planned to ask Dunham.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A man named Christopher disappears in Greece. His estranged wife, the narrator, goes to find him. A Separation has several separations: the marital separation, the separation between the narrator and her public self, and between herself and the world around her, which she keeps at a careful distance.

Horror Tropes And Human Sadness In 'Universal Harvester'

Feb 11, 2017

You may have noticed that mothers don't do so well in literature – stories both classic and contemporary tend to bump them off. Critics and scholars tie themselves in knots trying to identify the cultural significance of the missing-mother trope, which is pervasive and shows no signs of letting up.

George Saunders is acclaimed as a genius of the short story — and now he's written his first novel. It reads as part Our Town, part ghost story, and even part Ken Burns. It's a story that gives voice to a child who has died, and resonance to the silence of his father, who is enveloped by — and the instrument of — much grief.

On New Year's Eve, 2006, Christine Hyung-Oak Lee developed a splitting headache. She was 33, and her world turned upside down — as in, she literally saw the world upside down. Suddenly, she could hold things in her mind for only 15 minutes at a time. She was a writer who now couldn't recall words or craft sentences. She remembers looking at the phone and thinking to herself: What is the phone number for 911? Days later, she learned she'd had a stroke.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A place that was once home to some staunch characters is now on the market.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "GREY GARDENS")

EDITH BOUVIER BEALE: I can't stand a country house. This place - it makes me terribly nervous.

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