'Train Of Small Mercies': RFK's Last Journey Imagined

Play associated audio

In the news business, time is marked by great events: the anniversaries of elections, wars, hit songs and the births and deaths of famous people.

But each of us also has a personal timeline by which we measure our life: the day we start our first job, fulfill a dream or glimpse history passing by, close enough to touch.

David Rowell's debut novel, The Train of Small Mercies, puts public and personal timelines alongside each other as he recounts June 8, 1968. That's the day a train made a slow, momentous journey from New York to Washington, D.C., to deliver the body of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy for burial beside his slain brother.

Millions of people lined the route. It was the dead middle of an earth-shaking year that had already seen mounting losses in Vietnam, an American president decline to run, a hero martyred when Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, chaos, riots and songs. All of the characters in this novel are touched by the times, but also mark them in different, intimate ways.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


High Glamour Infuses A Forbidden Love Affair In 'Carol'

Todd Haynes' new film chronicles a lesbian affair between a middle-aged married woman and a young store clerk. Critic David Edelstein says Carol captures the thrill of a once-forbidden subculture.

Some Ancient Farmers Grew Fava Beans Before They Grew Grains

The fava bean is a key staple in much of the world. Researchers say they've found fava beans in the Galilee region of Israel dating over 10,000 years ago before grains had been domesticated there.

Caught Between A Turkey Leg And A Political Diatribe? We're Here To Help

Nobody wants a side of politics on his or her Thanksgiving table, but it's probably going to happen. Here's some advice to get you through — you may need to buy a duck quacker, though.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.