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Dan Fesperman’s “Unmanned,” Gandharva Raja’s “August 29th,” and Danuta Hinc’s “To Kill the Other”

A talk with Dan Fesperman about his drone-warfare novel, Unmanned; Gandharva Raja discusses his novel, August 29:  How Kabir H Jain Became a Deity; and DanutaHinc talks about her novel, To Kill the Other

Dan Fesperman’s latest novel explores the shadowy world of drone warfare.  From an Air Force base in the Arizona desert, to a small Afghan village, and Maryland’s Eastern shore, drones are becoming a part of everyday life – and death - for fighter-pilot turned drone operator Darwin Cole. And when a fairly routine mission goes terribly wrong, the collateral damage is not limited to the site of the actual airstrike. Fesperman joins The Signal’s Lisa Morgan in studio with a preview of Unmanned.

Here’s the scenario:  A massive crowd is packed into the courtyard of a mosque in New Delhi.  It’s nighttime, and excitement builds in the throng as a helicopter approaches through a moonlit sky.  The gathering awaits the mysterious arrival of a man who’s said to be a new prophet.  Hopes, fears, and questions linger in the multitude.  Who is this man?  Where has he come from?  What will his message be?  This is the scene that opens Gandharva Raja’s novel, August 29: How Kabir H Jain Became a Deity.  The book is a riveting mystery.  It’s also a profound meditation on the pitfalls of organized religion.  Author Gandharva Raja talks about the story with Aaron Henkin.

Gandharva Raja discusses his book, "August 29"

How does a scholarly boy from an affluent Egyptian family grow up to be a terrorist? Danuta Hinc’s new novel, To Kill the Other, imagines the story of the gradual radicalization of a young man in the years leading up to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Through his travels in Egypt, Israel, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the young man, Taher, is molded by the people he meets and the things he sees, experiences which lead him down the dark path to his own destruction. Danuta Hinc spoke with Signal producer Lisa Morgan about her journey inside the mind of a killer.

Danuta Hinc discusses her book, "To Kill the Other"

Aaron creates and produces original radio programs and podcasts for WYPR. His current project is The Maryland Curiosity Bureau. Aaron's neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.