Soft Features by Gillian Burnes


I don’t believe The Great Public Radio Novel has been written. Until now. Avid NPR listeners (like me) will lap up Gillian Burnes’s Soft Features for its insight – through the character of reporter Coralie Threlfell – into the way those great audio stories get thought up, and put together for the air. Thoroughly professional but subject to puzzling emotional stumbles, Coralie is a great main character. And the book has great Maine character, showing an affinity for the quirky customers and people of the Pine Tree State. An excellent job all around.Ben Yagoda, author of About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made

It is 1995, and Coralie Threlfell, news reporter for Maine’s public radio station WMPR, is finding it hard to do her job. Ordinary stories – a boy killed on his bicycle, dogs found starving in outdoor cages, a family dying in a house fire – suddenly cause her to break into tears on the air. To continue working as a reporter, she’s going to have to find more cheerful stories to report on, but even these so-called soft features wind up landing her in all kinds of trouble. In a world where we are constantly exposed to news that tests the limits of our empathy, Soft Features examines, with humor and intelligence, how hard it is to live a good life despite the bad news we can’t help hearing every day.

Price: $20.00