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4

WEDNESDAY

The characters in Stephanie Allen’s A Place Between Stations are experts in invisibility: the homeless woman whose yearbook reveals both “concentrated darkness of the eyes” and an Ivy League–worthy list of student activities; the nanny who’s warned not to speak Spanish, even though only her name is Hispanic; the quiet woman who stuffs a mammy figurine down her blouse while her friend argues with the owner of a Southern souvenir shop. Sometimes these diffident observers lead others to see themselves, as in “Mud Show,” where Bettoc, a traveling-circus employee, asks George, a black guide, whether he would like to play a cannibal in the show. “The others would do him up in bones and feathers and paint, he could growl and spit at white people….” When George declines the offer, Bettoc’s face falls: “Bettoc had not understood, until then, what kind of profession he belonged to.” Allen reads from her debut collection of stories with Abby Bardi and Sean Enright at 7 p.m. at the University of Maryland’s Francis Scott Key Hall, Room 0106, University Boulevard and Stadium Drive, College Park. Free. (301) 405-3820. (Pamela Murray Winters)