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T U E S D A Y

Ethan Canin is a physician by trade and a writer by craft, so it’s tempting to seek the medico behind the prose. But if the pragmatism and precision of his narrative voices indeed betray his daytime profession, his fiction is wholly literary. In the title novella of his four-piece The Palace Thief, for example, an aging history professor at a Virginia boys’ school is haunted by a moment of indecision; Canin interweaves irreconcilable moments of cowardice, a politician’s slippery charisma, and archetypes from Roman history to create a gorgeous but painful tale, tinged with regret. Canin reads at 7 p.m. at Chapters, 1512 K St. NW. FREE. (202) 347-5495. (Nathalie op de Beeck)

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