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

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

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

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 forty-two 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.

Review:

“A powerful book, one in which strangers share with you their darkest secrets, their happiest memories, their fears, their regrets. To read these essays is to look into hearts, to see life from other viewpoints, to live vicariously.” The Boston Globe

Review:

“Unforgettable testimonials of human resilience. Moving and amusing dispatches from across America.” Us Weekly (starred review)

Review:

“Human foibles and frailties, laughter and tears....We are all hearing — and telling — stories all the time, especially now, in these days when life itself seems so fragile and precious. But Paul Auster's wonderful efforts, choosing these fine stories, have given us a timely and invaluable reminder of what it means to listen — to really listen — to America talking.” The Times-Picayune

Review:

“Finally, a bathroom book worthy of Pulitzer consideration: the one-to-three-page stories gathered in this astonishing, addictive collection are absolute gems.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

“It is difficult to think of another book published this year, and probably any book to be published next year, that is so simple and so obvious, so excellent in intention and so elegant in its execution, and which displays such wisdom and such knowledge of human life in all its varieties. It is also difficult to think of a book that is so stark a reminder that human experience can be horrid and utterly unbelievable, and which therefore answers so precisely to our current needs and circumstances.” The Guardian (UK)

Review:

“As this collection ably proves, we all shape experience into stories, and Auster has done a storyteller's job himself of grouping these pieces effectively. Highly recommended.” Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

"Wherever you go on this handsome anthology, the tale is taut, quick and has a payoff, a punch line. I Thought My Father Was God is a huge national family history." Neil Schmitz, Buffalo News

Review:

"These stories have their own sly power. They remind us of what real life is....They are raw stories, and that's their strength as truth." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Encompasses the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the surreal, the mundane and the ethereal." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

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.

About the Author

Paul Auster is the author of ten novels, including Timbuktu, which was a national bestseller, and most recently The Book of Illusions. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Table of Contents

Introduction

ANIMALS

"The Chicken," Linda Elegant

"Rascal," Yale Huffman

"The Yellow Butterfly," Simonette Jackson

"Python," Judith Beth Cohen

"Pooh," Patricia Lambert

"New York Stray," Edith S. Marks

"Pork Chop," Eric Wynn

"B," Suzanne Stroh

"Two Loves," Will Coffey

"Rabbit Story," Barry Foy

"Carolina," Kelly O'Neill

"Andy and the Snake," Ron Fabian

"Blue Skies," Corki Stewart

"Exposure," Michael Oppenheimer

"Vertigo," Janet Schmidt Zupan

OBJECTS

"Star and Chain," Steve Lacheen

"Radio Gypsy," Bill Calm

"A Bicycle Story," Edith Riemer

"Grandmother's China," Kristine Lundquist

"The Bass," Mark Snyder

"Mother's Watch," Raymond Barry

"Case Closed," Jerry Hoke

"The Photo," Beverly Peterson

"MS. Found in an Attic," Marcus Rosenbaum

"Tempo Primo," Lauren Shapiro

"A Lesson Not Learned," Carol Sherman-Jones

"A Family Christmas," Don Graves

"My Rocking Chair," Dick Bain

"The Unicycle," Gordon Lee Stelter

"Moccasins," Fr. Keith Clark

"The Striped Pen," Robert M. Rock

"The Doll," Robert McGee

"The Videotape," Marie Johnson

"The Purse," Barbara Hudin

"A Gift of Gold," John Keith

FAMILIES

"Rainout," Stan Benkoski

"Isolation," Lucy Hayden

"Connections," Miriam Rosenzweig

"The Wednesday Before Christmas," Jack Fear

"How My Father Lost His Job," Fred Muratori

"Danny Kowalski," Charlie Peters

"Revenge" Eric Brotman

"Chris," Edwina Portelle Romero

"Put Your Little Foot," Anna Thorson

"Aunt Myrtle," Laura Braughton Waters

"American Odyssey," Jane Adams

"A Plate of Peas," Rick Beyer

"Wash Guilt," Heather Atwood

"Double Sadness," Martha Russell Hsu

"A Picture of Life," Jeanine Mankins

"Margie," Christine Kravetz

"One Thousand Dollars," I.Z.

"Taking Leave," Joe Miceli

"Act of Memory," Mary Grace Dembeck

SLAPSTICK

"Bi-Coastal," Beth Kivel

"A Felt Fedora," Joan Wilkins Stone

"Man vs. Coat," Mel Singer

"That's Entertainment," Nancy Wilson

"Riding With Andy," Jim Furlong

"Sophisticated Lady," Joan Vanden Heuvel

"My First Day in Priest Clothes," Eugene O'Brien

"Jewish Cowboy," Jennifer Pye

"How to Win Friends and Influence People," Jerry Yellin

"Your Father Has the Hay Fever," Tony Powell

"Lee Ann and Holly Ann," Holly A. Heffelbower

"Why I am Anti-Fur," Freddie Levin

"Airport Story," Randy Welch

"Tears and Flapdoodle," Alice Owens-Johnson

"The Club Car," John Flannelly

"Bronx Cheer," Joe Rizzo

"One Day in Higley," Carl Brooksby

STRANGERS

"Dancing on Seventy-fourth Street," Catherine Austin Alexander

"A Conversation with Bill," John Brawley

"Greyhounding," Beth Twiggar Goff

"A Little Story About New York," Dana T. Payne

"My Mistake," Ludlow Perry

"No Forwarding Address," Josh Dorman

"The New Girl," Marc Mitchell

"The Iceman of Market Street," R.C. Van Kooy

"Me and the Babe," Saul Isler

"Lives of the Poets," Clayton Eshleman

"Land of the Lost," Erica Hagen

"Rainbow," Katie Letcher Lyle

"Rescued by God," Mary Ann Garrett

"My Story," Rachel Watson

"Small World," Paul K. Humiston

"Christmas Morning, 1949," Sylvia Seymour Akin

"Brooklyn Roberts," Adolph Lopez

"$1,380 Per Night, Double Occupancy," Bruce Edward Hall0

"A Shot in the Light," Lion Goodman

"Snow," Juliana C. Nash

WAR

"The Fastest Man in the Union Army," Michael Kuretich

"Christmas 1862," Grace Sale Wilson

"Mount Grappa," Mary Parsons Burkett

"Savenay," Harold Tapper

"Fifty Years Later," Gisela Cloos Evitt

"He Was the Same Age as My Sister," Mieke C. Malandra

"Betting on Uncle Louie," Jeanne W. Halpern

"The Ten-Goal Player," Paul Ebeltoft

"The Last Hand," Bill Helmantoler

"August 1945," Robert C. North and Dorothy North

"One Autumn Afternoon," Willa Parks Ward

"I Thought My Father Was God," Robert Winnie

"The Celebration," Reginald Thayer

"Christmas 1945," Lloyd Hustvedt

"A Trunk Full of Memories," Morton N. Cohen

"A Walk in the Sun," Donald Zucker

"A Shot in the Dark," David Ayres

"Confessions of a Mouseketeer," Doreen Tracey

"Forever," Maria Barcelona

"Utah, 1975," Steve Hale

LOVE

"What if?," Theodore Lustig

"The Mysteries of Tortellini," Kristina Streeter

"An Involuntary Assistant," C.W. Schmitt

"The Plot," Bev Ford

"Mathematical Aphrodisiac," Alex Galt

"Table for Two," Lori Peikoff

"Suzy's Choosy," Suzanne Druehl

"Top Button," Earl Roberts

"Lace Gloves," Karen Cycon Dermody

"Susan's Greetings," Susan Sprague

"Edith," Bill Froke

"Souls Fly Away," Laura McHugh

"Awaiting Delivery," John Wiley

"The Day Paul and I Flew the Kite," Ann Davis

"A Lesson in Love," Alvin Rosser

"Ballerina," Nicolas Wieder

"The Fortune Cookie," Sharli Land-Polanco

DEATH

"Ashes," Sara Wilson

"Harrisburg," Randee Rosenfeld

"Something to Think About," P. Rohmann

"Good Night," Ellise Rossen

"Charlie the Tree Killer," Frank Young

"Dead Man's Bluff," Joel Einschlag

"My Best Friend," Olga Hardman

"I Didn't Know," Linda Marine

"Cardiac Arrests," Sherwin Waldman

"Grandmother's Funeral," Martha Duncan

"High Street," Judith Englander

"A Failed Execution," David Anderson

"The Ghost," G.A. Gonzalez

"Heart Surgery," Dr. G.

"The Crying Place," Tim Gibson

"Lee," Jodi Walters

"South Dakota," Nancy Peavy

"Connecting with Phil," Tom Sellew

"The Letter," Brian F. McGee

"Dress Rehearsal," Ellen Powell

"The Anonymous Deciding Factor," Hollie Caldwell Campanella

DREAMS

"4:05 A.M.," Matthew Menary

"In the Middle of the Night," Steve Harper

"Blood," James Sharpsteen

"The Interpretation of Dreams," V. Ferguson-Stewart

"Half-Ball," Jack Edmonston

"Friday Night," Steve Hodgman

"Farrell," Stew Schneider

"Jill," Kara Husson

"D-Day," Richard R. Rosman

"The Wall," Vicky Johnson

"Heaven," Grace Fichtelberg

"My Father's Dream," Mary McCallum

"Parallel Lives," Timothy Ackerman

"Anna May," Jeff Raper

"Long Time Gone," Lynn Duvall

MEDITATIONS

"Sewing Lessons," Donna M. Bronner

"Sunday Drive," Bob Ayers

"Mayonnaise Sandwiches," Thomas Corrado

"Seaside," Tanya Collins

"After a Long Winter," Eileen O'Hara

"Martini With a Twist," Dede Ryan

"Nowhere," John Howze

"Where in the World is Era Rose Rodosta?," Carolyn Brasher

"Peter," Mark Gover

"At Sixes and Sevens," Sandra Waller

"Reflections on a Hubcap," Roger Brinkerhoff

"Homeless in Prescott, Arizona," B.C.

"Being There," Tim Clancy

"An Average Sadness," Ameni Rozsa

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

missy, May 18, 2013 (view all comments by missy)
I'm not embarrased to admit that read this book one bathroom break at a time. It's perfect for that. Most of the stories are pretty good - I remember some made me cry but I don't remember which. Though some stories will still, from time to time, flash in my mind. Like the one about the guy who gets shot by a hitchhiker he picked up. Only he doesn't die and, astoundingly, convinces the guy who shot him to let him live. He promises never to tell anyone, and offers his forgiveness. And the shooter, seeing a chance to redeem himself, takes him to the hospital. The storyteller keeps his word and everyone lives happily ever after. Crazy, right?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
SarahEJH, January 4, 2010 (view all comments by SarahEJH)
An insight into our common humanity and the overwhelming power of words -- fears, dreams, the unresolved and the purely comical moments that bind together and bring semblance to life. The uniqueness of an anthology of intimacies (submissions came from ordinary people all across America)gives this collection a strangely confessional feeling. The stories range from topics that include love, death, animals and family. No story is too small or common and most often those are the most revelatory. An inspiration to every person who ever wanted to share a story and a gift to those who miss the voice of the storyteller in their lives.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312421007
Subtitle:
And Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project
Author:
Auster, Paul
Editor:
Reifler, Nelly
Publisher:
Picador USA
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - 20th Century
Subject:
Social history
Subject:
Folklore & Mythology - Storytelling
Subject:
Oral history
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
United States Social life and customs.
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Subject:
Essays
Edition Number:
1st Picador USA ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Recent Picador Highlights
Series Volume:
2
Publication Date:
20020931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.28 x 5.5 x 0.735 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Radio
Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » American » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales from NPR's National Story Project New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$20.00 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Picador USA - English 9780312421007 Reviews:
"Review" by , “A powerful book, one in which strangers share with you their darkest secrets, their happiest memories, their fears, their regrets. To read these essays is to look into hearts, to see life from other viewpoints, to live vicariously.”
"Review" by , “Unforgettable testimonials of human resilience. Moving and amusing dispatches from across America.”
"Review" by , “Human foibles and frailties, laughter and tears....We are all hearing — and telling — stories all the time, especially now, in these days when life itself seems so fragile and precious. But Paul Auster's wonderful efforts, choosing these fine stories, have given us a timely and invaluable reminder of what it means to listen — to really listen — to America talking.”
"Review" by , “Finally, a bathroom book worthy of Pulitzer consideration: the one-to-three-page stories gathered in this astonishing, addictive collection are absolute gems.”
"Review" by , “It is difficult to think of another book published this year, and probably any book to be published next year, that is so simple and so obvious, so excellent in intention and so elegant in its execution, and which displays such wisdom and such knowledge of human life in all its varieties. It is also difficult to think of a book that is so stark a reminder that human experience can be horrid and utterly unbelievable, and which therefore answers so precisely to our current needs and circumstances.”
"Review" by , “As this collection ably proves, we all shape experience into stories, and Auster has done a storyteller's job himself of grouping these pieces effectively. Highly recommended.”
"Review" by , "Wherever you go on this handsome anthology, the tale is taut, quick and has a payoff, a punch line. I Thought My Father Was God is a huge national family history."
"Review" by , "These stories have their own sly power. They remind us of what real life is....They are raw stories, and that's their strength as truth."
"Review" by , "Encompasses the comic and the tragic, the absurd and the surreal, the mundane and the ethereal."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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