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THURSDAY

Alison Smith was once known as Alroy—as was her brother, Roy. The earthly bond that made them playmates, bickerers, and confidants was severed in 1984, when Roy was killed in a van crash. As a teenager, she learned she had another name when her first lover tried to separate from her under the watchful eye of nuns: “I’m a troublemaker,” says Terry, “and you’re the girl whose brother died.” Smith’s memoir, Name All the Animals, features many made-for-Lifetime touches: a parent who tipples, a young man who dies, a young woman who falls for another woman, an icon-ridden, plaid-skirted Catholic girlhood. But the author’s touch is so deft that this true story reads like the most subtle fiction. Smith reads at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Pamela Murray Winters)