The iconic Industrial Trust Tower, knows as the "Superman building," stands in downtown Providence, R.I. The art deco-style skyscraper, the tallest in the state, lost its last tenant when the bank's lease expired in April.
Rhode Island is home to beautiful beaches, top-notch universities and a thriving arts scene. Beneath the surface, however, the state faces challenges similar to other parts of the country: shrinking revenues, lost jobs and general economic malaise.
The main character of Claire Messud's novel, The Woman Upstairs, is a good woman. Nora is a 37-year-old elementary school teacher — responsible, kind and reliable. She is also very, very angry.
Her dreams of being an artist have been suppressed; she is seething inside with rage and resentment. But she keeps her anger in until she meets another woman who has everything she does not: a husband, a child and a successful art career. And then everything begins to unravel. As Nora's relationship with the woman and her family deepens, her inner life begins to come out.
NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Ten Ring Fingers by Tamara Breuer of Washington, D.C., and Ghost Words by Matheus Macedo of Winthrop, Mass. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.