At least since Pygmalion prayed for his beautiful ivory statue to become a real woman, men have struggled to find a mate who is almost literally made for them. Today you can turn to any number of algorithm-based websites to find your romantic ideal; you can even special-order brides from faraway lands. But in Georgian England, one well-heeled young man sought out his perfect love in a rather shocking and unlikely place: an orphanage.
In Jean Thompson's latest novel, The Humanity Project, humanity isn't doing so well and could use some help. Sean is a wayward carpenter whose bad luck with women turns into even worse luck: He's addicted to painkillers, and he and his teenage son Conner are facing eviction. Linnea is the teen survivor of a school shooting who travels west to California to live with a father she barely knows. Mrs. Foster is a wealthy woman who's taken to living with feral cats, and whose "Humanity Project" just might take a chance on people who thought they were out of luck.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 11:43 am
Most people would be hard-pressed to call Wal-Mart a source of artistic inspiration. A place to purchase peanut butter, cereal and other mundane necessities? Yes. But a rendezvous spot with transcendence? Hardly.
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the initials "J.R."
Last week's challenge from listener Sandy Weisz: Take a common English word. Write it in capital letters. Move the first letter to the end and rotate it 90 degrees. You'll get a new word that is pronounced exactly the same as the first word. What words are these?
April is National Poetry Month, and NPR is celebrating by asking young poets what poetry means to them. This week, Weekend Edition speaks with Nate Klug, whose poems have appeared in Poetry, Threepenny Review and other journals. Klug is also a master of divinity candidate at the Yale Divinity School and a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ. "It's nice to go home from a day of thinking about the church to this whole other world of poetry," he says. "But obviously there are some really amazing ways that they intersect."