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First Born, Fast Grown

By Notable Narratives May 4, 2006

This is a beautiful example of writing well about endangered children. Wilkerson’s voice is at once poised, solemn, compassionate and engaging. The detail she has gathered and included is fine and telling. Her scenes tell us much about her character, … Read more

Angela Whitiker’s Climb

By Notable Narratives May 4, 2006

Wilkerson wrote about Angela Whitiker’s son in her Pulitzer Prize-winning story "First Born, Fast Grown." Twelve years later, she chronicles his mother’s successful struggle to earn a nurse’s degree and move from poverty into the middle class. What makes the … Read more

A Hanging

By Notable Narratives May 4, 2006

Orwell uses himself as a character in this piece, in the service of irony. Another character is a dog. We found the dog to be a brilliant, devastating, well-exploited detail. This is an excellent study in when to “show” and … Read more

Critical Care

By Notable Narratives May 2, 2006

We liked this vivid and engaging study in character. Allen follows the struggles of a novice nurse as she begins training in the most grueling of nursing domains, the ICU at Mass General Hospital. Her teacher is a strong-willed, skilled … Read more

Against All Odds

By Notable Narratives May 1, 2006

If there were a genre called moral narrative, this piece (and the book on which it is based) would exemplify it. The driving threads in the story are nothing less than forces of good and evil: anti- and pro-slavery factions … Read more

Shooting an Elephant

By Notable Narratives April 27, 2006

This is a powerful, honest piece in which Orwell brilliantly gets at the complex human experience of living and ruling in a strange land. It’s a deeply compelling read that is also deeply political. It is also disturbingly graphic—not in … Read more

War Without End

By Notable Narratives April 17, 2006

This series about two men who lost their legs to IEDs in Iraq is built on a wealth of close detail. The piece chronicles their struggles to recover from their injuries, both physically and psychologically. We appreciated the probing interest … Read more

The Fever

By Notable Narratives April 14, 2006

There are two main characters in this series: first, the illness itself, which ravaged Norfolk and Plymouth, Va., in 1855. It killed one out of three people in the communities it reached. Its effects form a summary narrative of the … Read more