What happens to a news reporter when she can’t report the news without breaking into tears? This is the problem Coralie Threlfell faces in Soft Features, a wise and witty novel set in Maine in 1994 about an overly empathetic public radio journalist whose attempts to find cheerful stories, or soft features, take her on a series of misadventures that only prove – time and again, in surprising ways – that even compassion is not for the faint of heart.
“I don’t believe The Great Public Radio Novel has been written. Until now. Avid NPR listeners (like me) will lap up Gillian Burnes’s Soft Features for its insight– through the character of reporter Coralie Threlfell– into the way those great audio stories get thought up, and put together for the air. Thoroughly professional but subject to puzzling emotional stumbles, Coralie is a great main character. And the book has great Maine character, showing an affinity for the quirky customers and people of the Pine Tree State. An excellent job all around.”
– Ben Yagoda, author of About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made
“A warmhearted, humorous, honest look at what it’s like to be human right now, Soft Features speaks directly to the existential dread in all of us. I mean that in the best possible way. Gillian Burnes’s novel may or may not make you feel less anxious about the world, but it will absolutely make you feel less alone in it.”
– Jill Twiss, author of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo