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Richard McCann's Elegy to a 'Mother of Sorrows'

It's a novel hovering on the edge of autobiography, yet the main character has no name. It's an elegy to a mother in white gloves and a time when innocence was still possible.

The book is Mother of Sorrows, by Richard McCann. Completed after 20 years, it was greeted this spring with critical acclaim. McCann, co-director of the Creative Writing Program at American University in Washington, D.C., tells Jacki Lyden the story, and reads selected passages.

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Jacki Lyden
Longtime listeners recognize Jacki Lyden's voice from her frequent work as a substitute host on NPR. As a journalist who has been with NPR since 1979, Lyden regards herself first and foremost as a storyteller and looks for the distinctive human voice in a huge range of national and international stories.