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A Renowned Gullah Geechee Cook Gets Her Own Book and More: The Week in Narrated Articles

This weekend, listen to a collection of narrated articles from around The New York Times, read aloud by the reporters who wrote them.

At 89, Emily Meggett is considered by many to be the most important Gullah Geechee cook alive.

She was born on Edisto Island in the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, as were her parents and their parents, in a line that connects back to the enslaved Africans who were forced to work in what is now known as the Gullah Geechee corridor, a string of coastal communities from North Carolina to Florida. Through centuries of slavery, they managed to hold on to some traditions and forge new ones. They created their own Creole language called Gullah and a culture known as Gullah Geechee.

Two weeks ago, Mrs. Meggett, who has never used a cookbook during her 78 years in the kitchen, published her own: “Gullah Geechee Home Cooking: Recipes From the Matriarch of Edisto Island.”

Written and narrated by Marc Tracy

Former President Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of J.D. Vance proved critical in the Republican primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in Ohio that Mr. Vance won this month. So did the financial support of Peter Thiel, the conservative Silicon Valley billionaire, and favorable coverage by Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

But Mr. Vance’s political rise was also made possible by the worlds of publishing, media and Hollywood, fields long seen as liberal bastions, which had embraced him, through his memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” as a credible geographer of a swath of America that coastal elites knew little about, believing that he shared their objections to Mr. Trump.

“The reason ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ was such a high-octane book was academics, professors, cultural arbitrators — liberals — embraced it as explaining a forgotten part of America,” said Douglas Brinkley, a professor of history at Rice University who once introduced Mr. Vance at an event. “They wouldn’t have touched Vance with a 10-foot pole if they thought he was part of this Trump, xenophobic, bigot-fueled zeitgeist.”

Written and narrated by Mike Baker

A spouse who commits mariticide will almost certainly become a prime suspect, the romance novelist Nancy Brophy said in a 2011 blog post titled “How to Murder Your Husband.” The wife, she said, must “be organized, ruthless and very clever.”

“After all, if the murder is supposed to set me free, I certainly don’t want to spend any time in jail,” Ms. Brophy wrote. “And let me say clearly for the record, I don’t like jumpsuits and orange isn’t my color.”

Seven years later, Ms. Brophy’s husband, Daniel, was brutally murdered, shot twice inside the kitchen of a Portland, Ore., culinary institute where he was arriving for work on a sunny June morning. Now, prosecutors are trying to build a follow-the-string criminal case to prove that Ms. Brophy, 71, killed her husband with the same type of brutal cunning she once speculated would be necessary to evade conviction and reap the rewards.

Written and narrated by Damien Cave

If the United States had the same Covid death rate as Australia, about 900,000 lives would have been saved.

For many Americans, imagining what might have been will be painful. But especially now, at the milestone of one million deaths in the United States, the nations that did a better job of keeping people alive show what Americans could have done differently and what might still need to change.

Many places provide insight. Japan. Kenya. Norway. But Australia offers perhaps the sharpest comparisons with the American experience. Both countries are English-speaking democracies with similar demographic profiles. Yet Australia’s Covid death rate sits at one-tenth of America’s, putting the nation of 25 million people (with around 7,500 deaths) near the top of global rankings in the protection of life.

Written and narrated by Sarah Maslin Nir

Five years ago, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus packed up its proverbial big top for what it said was for good, ending a 146-year run in the face of slumping sales and a growing public distaste for the lion, tiger and elephant acts once synonymous with this circus. But over the past year, in places like Las Vegas, Ethiopia and Mongolia, the circus has quietly been evaluating talent and ramping up for a comeback.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it would officially return, with its first show on Sept. 28, 2023, and a tour of more than 50 cities, but without any animals.

“Ringling has always evolved: Logically, in order to be successful for 146 years, you constantly have to change,” said Kenneth Feld, the chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment, which purchased the circus in 1967. Feld is betting big on a revamped show that is centered not on things like elephants standing on their hind legs, but on narrative story lines and human feats.

The Times’s narrated articles are made by Tally Abecassis, Parin Behrooz, Anna Diamond, Sarah Diamond, Jack D’Isidoro, Aaron Esposito, Dan Farrell, Elena Hecht, Adrienne Hurst, Elisheba Ittoop, Emma Kehlbeck, Marion Lozano, Tanya Pérez, Krish Seenivasan, Margaret H. Willison, Kate Winslett, John Woo and Tiana Young. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Ryan Wegner, Julia Simon and Desiree Ibekwe.

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