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The Drum

Issue 18. November 2011

CHERYL WALSH Unequal Temperaments


Cheryl Walsh's "Unequal Temperaments" is narrated by a musician and a tuner of harpsichords--instruments whose tuning challenges give the story its title. Telling a story about friction among players in a conservatory, the piece explores our ability to adjust, align, and predict events in our experience, and suggests that despite our certainty that we can foretell things, we will always be surprised and perhaps foiled by the irrational and the unruly. (22:37)

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HADLEY MOORE When My Father Was In Prison


Hadley Moore's "When My Father Was In Prison" describes the power of language in the life of a nine-year-old boy as he tries to sort out what it means to be a boy, a man, a father. A father in prison, a pet bird that has died, an older brother discovering his sexuality--Moore's narrator studies it all, coming to understand some part of how he fits in to his world. (19:46)

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In Lisa Korzeniowski's "While You Were Gone", a mother's night out leaves her children to do whatever they want, thrilled to be free from a parent whose weaknesses and failures are all too apparent.  But their experience of exhilaration quickly slides into yearning for their mother's love and for the return of her questionable authority. (3:00)

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Lauren Carson's "The Ironing" takes a domestic scene as the setting for a domestic undoing. Carson paints a detailed portrait of a woman's experience as a pair of pants becomes a wry battleground. (3:30)

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KIMBERLY ELKINS Laura Bridgman, The First Famous Blind Deaf-Mute


Kimberly Elkins' "Laura Bridgman" offers a fascinating fictionalized account of an actual historical moment. As she meets the young girl who is being groomed to take her place as a celebrity, Bridgman muses on the vagaries of fame and reputation. Elkins' piece raises interesting questions about the rivalry among the senses (or their loss), and the strange power that can be wielded by disability. (3:33)

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BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL The Fiction: Time is. . . panel


Courtesy of the Boston Book Festival, the Time Is. . .  panel with Jennifer Egan, Lawrence Douglas, and Peter Mountford, moderated by Henriette Lazaridis Power. The discussion took place in the Sanctuary of Old South Church on Saturday, October 15th, 2011. The panelists discussed issues like the structural choices they made in handling narrative time in their novels, the relationship between memory and identity in their work, the way their characters manipulate history and time, and how as novelists they represent time itself. Listen through to the end to hear the discussion include physics, the Big Bang, and narrative craft. (1:00:07)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction


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