Sunday Books: What are stories good for, anyway?

Okay so I’m a day (and several weeks) late on Sunday Books, but this is a good read so far. A judge sentences Sam Pulsifer to 10 years in prison for burning down Emily Dickinson’s house with two people inside. But at the same time, this judge confuses Sam, his lawyer and the prosecutor over his ruminations on what must have been his frustrateinside_book_coverd career as a professor of literature.

So goes the zippy narrative and biting humor of An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England. Sam, convicted of murder, blames his crime on the crude stories his mother told him about the Dickinson House after his father, her husband, left for three years.

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