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THURSDAY

What would you do if you knew you were dying? Timothy Leary went online to share his journey with the technologentsia. A relative of mine with emphysema, which eventually took her, said that if she received confirmation that her illness was terminal, she’d light up without hesitation. And Lenore, a character in Joy Williams’ story “Honored Guest,” gives away her freaked-out dog, tries to get mother-daughter tattoos, and persuades her daughter, Helen, to bring a snowball into the house—which she then throws at the girl: “Get two, come on….We’ll have a snowball fight in the house. Why not?” Why not, indeed: Caught between a great certainty—death—and a great uncertainty—exactly when—Lenore suspends rules even as Helen craves them. Williams’ tense, detailed story ends abruptly and without fanfare or even resolution—which ultimately makes more sense than any other conclusion. Williams reads from Honored Guest: Stories at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)

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