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One City One Story: Yvonne

Friday, September 27, 2019

"Yvonne" by Ciera Burch is the 2019 One City One Story all-city read selection for the city of Boston. One City One Story is an annual project of the Boston Book Festival, which prints and distributes 20,000 copies of the selected story for free throughout Greater Boston. Ciera Burch will appear at the Boston Book Festival for town hall discussions on both October 19 and October 20, in Copley Square and Dudley Square. For more information about the Boston Book Festival and One City One Story, please visit bostonbookfest. org . The story [...] more

Two Poems

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Nickole Brown reads her poems "Wild Thing" and "Against Despair: The Kid Goat" and speaks with Poetry Editor Kirun Kapur about topics ranging from her inspiration for her work, to her Kentucky upbringing, to the first poem that resonated with her. [...] more


Friday, December 14, 2018

In 1970, the narrator and his several brothers drive off in a Duster to defend their mother's honor. The fact that most of them are high plays some role in the confusion that ensues. Alec Solomita's "Squirrel" is a tale of sibling allegiances and misunderstandings, told with tenderness and wit. [...] more

Hit Me

Monday, November 5, 2018

A group of high-school boys tests each other and themselves with the game of knuckles. From the pain of knuckles, to the release of getting high, to the sweet pleasure of a Charleston Chew, these boys feel everything, and try to pretend they can choose what they let in. "Hit Me" is a story--beautifully performed by Spatz--about aggression, recklessness, and surprising weakness. [...] more


Thursday, September 20, 2018

A thing as ordinary as a mailbox becomes the focus of all of one man's passions in Phil Shreck's eponymous story. Russell tilts not at windmills but at his mailboxes, old and new, and at a deep-seated sense of inadequacy. Shreck reads his darkly funny story aloud in a brilliant performance. [...] more


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Since February is the shortest month, we think it's the perfect time for the shortest of stories. And so, we bring you that icon of long-ago pop culture, now modified for the post-cassette era: the mixtape. In one track, we've compiled six short pieces from The Drum's archives, from writers Matt Bell , Ron MacLean , Michelle Seaton , Cumi Ikeda , Allison Williams , and Nathan Poole . These are tales of snakes and tidepools, butchers and fish, identity and danger. [...] more

Where We Found the Girls

Friday, January 19, 2018

The anger and frustration of girls is at the core of Brandi Reissenweber's short story "Where We Found the Girls". As, one by one, four girls in a community are discovered in strange and mysterious circumstances, the townspeople must confront what they themselves have failed to see and understand. [...] more

One City One Story: Relativity

Monday, December 4, 2017

Our partners the Boston Book Festival chose Daphne Kalotay’s “Relativity” as the selection for the 2017 One City One Story project. The story appeared in print--for the first time--in free booklets available throughout Boston. But you can listen to Daphne read it aloud herself here--and only here--on The Drum. [...] more

Skyfaring (excerpts)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mark Vanhoenacker reads excerpts from his recent book SKYFARING. In a seamless fusion of history, politics, geography, meteorology, family, and physics, the book asks us to reimagine what we--as pilots and as passengers--are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery. www. skyfaring. com [...] more

Who's Walking Who

Friday, November 20, 2015

There are those who prepare for Thanksgiving weeks in advance. And there are those, like Steve Macone, who do their shopping the day before this major American holiday. His essay "Who's Walking Who," first audio-published in our October 2011 issue, finds Macone at the Somerville, Massachusetts Market Basket on Thanksgiving Wednesday. Hilarity--and insight--ensue. [...] more

One City One Story: Home Movie

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jennifer De Leon's "Home Movie" is the Boston Book Festival's 2015 selection for the One City One Story project. "Home Movie" follows Eduardo and his wife Linda on the day he records their life in America for their family in Guatemala, while a crisis strains the bonds tying the young couple together and to their adopted country. [...] more

One City One Story: Jennifer Haigh's "Sublimation"

Monday, October 20, 2014

Jennifer Haigh's "Sublimation" is the Boston Book Festival's choice for this year's One City One Story, a project to promote reading and to create community around a shared reading experience. "Sublimation" first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Ploughshares . Jennifer Haigh will appear at the Boston Book Festival on October 25 to discuss the story. To download the audio recording of "Sublimation," right-click on the download button beside the play button, and save the mp3 to your computer. [...] more

Reading with Edan Lepucki at Brookline Booksmith

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Joanna Rakoff reads from My Salinger Year and Edan Lepucki reads from California at Brookline Booksmith. Listen in as these two writers read from their work and answer questions about driving through LA during a blackout that seems to presage apocalypse, about the experience of working in J. D. Salinger's agency, and about the shift from novel to memoir, third-person to first. [...] more

The Greenbriar Ghost

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A house haunted by a mother's yearning for excitement is the setting for Andrea Robertson's "The Greenbriar Ghost". Named for a woman whose ghost does haunt the narrator's Southern town, Zona tries to find her own place in a world of signs and warnings, messages from beyond, and the sometimes more troubling messages from within her own family. [...] more

When Jesus Died

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jesus is the name of Rudy's dog--Rudy being the boy who forms a frank but subtle friendship with the narrator of Erica Shubin's story "When Jesus Died". Shubin's is a rich and detailed narrative encompassing adolescent sexuality, religion, and community, and centering on the poignant makeshift burial of a pet. Most of all, though, "When Jesus Died" explores the question of what makes us feel invincible or whole and what we do to guard against diminution. [...] more

Wing Woman

Monday, March 10, 2014

“Another thing of Zinfandel. We’re headed for the Coast," says the narrator of Jonathan Gotsick's "Wing Woman" when she agrees to go along with her recently-divorced friend to assume the story's title role. Toni escorts Shelley on a journey of escape and adventure rendered with vivid and particular--and humorous--detail. Gotsick's narrative leads the two women to an aging rock band and to a final performance whose bombast reveals the story's poignant heart. [...] more

Favorite Son

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jennifer Haigh reads "Favorite Son" from her recent collection News From Heaven . It's here that the collection's title appears--in a story of hopes and disappointments shared by an entire town and by the sons and daughters left with the town's poignant legacy. "Favorite Son" explores the ways in which a certain kind of faith and trust can turn into betrayal. [...] more

Reading at Brookline Booksmith

Monday, February 17, 2014

Booker-Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle reads from his latest novel The Guts in this recording of an event at Brookline Booksmith on February 6, 2014. Jimmy Rabitte, the protagonist of Doyle's first novel The Commitments , is now middle-aged and facing the difficult task of telling his wife he has cancer. Doyle's trademark spare and witty dialogue anchors the scene. Following the reading, Doyle discusses topics ranging from how he writes dialogue, the Irish recession, and footballer Wayne Rooney, all in his inimitably wry style. [...] more

Another Way to Make Cleopatra Cry

Monday, February 3, 2014

A lost purse sets in motion this fast-paced, voice-rich story of opportunism and desperation seen through the wary eyes of a little girl. Dragged around the bars and backstreets of Lowell, Massachusetts by her father's girlfriend, Kaylene watches over her sister Cleopatra and the girlfriend's son as they go in search of the purse and its promise of a better life. Tracy Winn's "Another Way to Make Cleopatra Cry" offers a vivid sense of what it means when observation is your only resource. [...] more

What If?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Books, Actually is The Drum's collection of interlaced stories set in and around the Boston Book Festival. A thief, a teenaged poet, a coxswain, and a disgruntled author are just a few of the characters created by Boston authors Catherine Elcik, Ethan Gilsdorf, Katrina Grigg-Saito, Ted Weesner, Becky Tuch, Clarence Lai, Stace Budzko, and Henriette Lazaridis Power. Hear them all, or go directly to a selected story. Elcik (00:31), Gilsdorf (6:20), Lai (11:47), Power (17:12), Weesner (22:51), Tuch (29:23), Budzko (35:39), Grigg-Saito (37:17), Elcik (42:21). [...] more

NICK DYBEK Three Summers

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In a summer rental shared by two families, a boy and a girl in Nick Dybek's "Three Summers" search for treasure in the secret corners of the house. Parents search for a different kind of treasure--a shared history whose adventure and romance now eludes them. Over the course of three summers, both adults and children wrestle with the pull of the past and the allure of the imagined. "Three Summers" appears in print in the Fall 2013 issue of Ploughshares, and in text on Ploughshares online. The story is read aloud for The Drum by [...] more

LIONEL SHRIVER Reading at Brookline Booksmith

Monday, July 8, 2013

In this recording of her June 19 appearance at Brookline Booksmith , acclaimed novelist Lionel Shriver reads from her new novel Big Brother and discusses issues surrounding obesity in our culture. In her introduction to a short reading, and in her answers to audience questions, Shriver speaks with passion and insight about such topics as personal responsibility, government missteps, and the power of family and sibling relationships. [...] more

SABINE HEINLEIN Pomp and Circumstance

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sabine Heinlein's essay "Pomp and Circumstance" traces the challenges and successes in the life of a young blind man negotiating life in New York. Heinlein gives us a vivid sense of the world as this young man experiences it, as she follows him through certain key milestones. A version of the essay first appeared in the American Literary Review where it was awarded the 2011 non-fiction award. [...] more


Monday, May 6, 2013

A man and a woman, a car, and a long drive in the company of memories and ruminations. Religion, race, and the seductive power of persuasion all come together in Tiphanie Yanique's story "Oakland Gomorrah". The story's conclusion offers a particularly thought-provoking reflection on beliefs and history. "Oakland Gomorrah" appears in print in the current issue of the literary journal AGNI. Listen to the story here, and read along in print . The story is read aloud by Katrina Grigg-Saito. [...] more


Monday, April 1, 2013

Judith McCormack's "Creation Stories" appears in the current issue (Issue Number 43) of the Harvard Review . "Creation Stories" is the tale of a relationship and the law--social laws, laws of attraction, and the laws that govern the creation of facts and identity. In McCormack's narrative, Elisabetta and Miles meet en route to a legal conference in Sicily, and proceed to build a connection founded as much on omission as communication. The story is read aloud by Katrina Grigg-Saito . [...] more

HENRIETTE LAZARIDIS The Clover House, Chapter One

Monday, March 25, 2013

Henriette Lazaridis Power's novel The Clover House follows a Greek-American woman who discovers the secrets to a wartime family tragedy when she returns to Greece to sift through an inheritance. In the novel's first chapter, Callie Brown determines to make the trip to Greece, motivated by her mother's attempts to keep her away, and by her own unease about her recent engagement. For more about the book, visit www. henriettepower. com . [...] more


Monday, February 11, 2013

A violent flood provides the backdrop for the tentative relationship developing in Jackson Culpepper's "The Last Thing To Go. " As the storm waters surge, a young man searching for stability--and for connection with the young woman he meets at church--confronts new questions about himself and about the nature of love and salvation. [...] more

BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL: Great Brits and Books

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Courtesy of the Boston Book Festival, the Great Brits and Books Panel , with Maria Tatar, Rachel Brownstein, Lisa Rodensky, and Leah Price, moderated by Drum editor Henriette Lazaridis Power. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, James Barrie, and the Brontës were just some of the authors these scholars discussed during the BBF session on October 27, 2012. Listen to the audio of the panel to hear how books were used as instruments of power in the 19th century, how Jane Austen continues to engage readers today, and how Barrie's Peter Pan [...] more

LISA MECHAM You Get What You Get

Monday, November 12, 2012

"You Get What You Get" offers an intense story of a woman confronted with her husband's deteriorating mental health.  A trip to the remote suburbs to see a house her husband has purchased brings Jennifer face to face with the dangers in her own home. At the heart of Lisa Mecham's story are detailed character studies of people in crisis. [...] more


Monday, October 22, 2012

Over the course of a slightly chaotic supper, Kay, the protagonist of Vicky Grut's short story "Debts" confronts her social, financial, and emotional obligations. The story is populated by vivid characters--a strange boy who keeps washing Kay's husband's car, Kay's unruly daughter, surprise guests with complicated histories--all of whom come together in a sometimes clashing interaction. Grut brings the story's various elements together in a thoughtful and moving conclusion. [...] more

One City One Story: Anna Solomon's The Lobster Mafia Story

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"The Lobster Mafia Story," by Anna Solomon, is the Boston Book Festival 's choice for this year's One City One Story, a project to promote reading and to create community around a shared reading experience. It's a poignant tale set in motion by a widow's dreadful secret about a long-ago murder. The story is read aloud by The Drum 's editor, Henriette Lazaridis Power. Anna Solomon will appear at the Boston Book Festival on October 27 to discuss the story. To download the audio recording of "The Lobster Mafia [...] more


Monday, September 10, 2012

Martin Amis joined Henriette Lazaridis Power for a conversation on September 7, 2012. Amis spoke about his novel Lionel Asbo: State of England , about why we don't like Dickens' Little Nell, why we still like Jane Austen, and other topics, including religion and writing. The Drum 's Audio Editor Ethan Wolff Mann joined in the conversation while Amis took a lunch break at the Keltic Krust Bakery in West Newton, Massachusetts. [...] more

MARY MEDLIN Not Now But Soon

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mary Medlin's short story "Not Now But Soon" follows Connor as he crosses Somerville to pay the rent on his girlfriend's apartment. But Afshan is dead, and the tragic event that caused her death haunts Connor, rendering his rent-payments a tangible form of inadequate expiation. The story is shot through with themes of atonement and guilt as it offers an in-depth portrait of a young man and woman as they fall in love. [...] more

JEN BERGMARK Turn of the Century

Monday, June 25, 2012

"The world will end soon. " So says the protagonist of Jen Bergmark's "Turn of the Century. " An old rock and roller who views himself as a has-been, the singer is fascinated by Nostradamus and by predictions that the millennium will send us all into chaos. He looks ahead to New Year's of 2000 as the confirmation of the ending he has experienced in his career and his life. But when a young concert promoter recognizes him at an LA flea market, his life, like the century, takes a different turn. [...] more


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A farewell gathering held by the Calcutta Heritage Society of Northern California is the starting point for Bharati Mukherjee's story "The Going-Back Party". Shefali Sinha watches as the actions of the guests reveal the envy, nostalgia, and uncertainty that direct their interactions. The story goes on to offer a wry and insightful meditation on distance and closeness, and on the ways in which our emotions can surprise us. [...] more

JEAN RYAN Migration

Monday, May 14, 2012

A broken marriage and a change of scenery find the protagonist of Jean Ryan's "Migration" examining her past and planning a future in northern California. A flock of geese by her house, and one particular goose who refuses to leave, lead Erica to consider old bonds and new loyalties as she charts a new life. [...] more


Monday, May 7, 2012

In Colette Sartor's "Daredevil," a little girl becomes the catalyst for unsettling and then tragic events in the lives of a young mother, Grace, and her son Aidan. The story explores issues of faith, risk-taking, and the limits of sympathy, and looks at the many ways in which a home can be threatened. [...] more


Monday, April 23, 2012

Jyotsna Sreenivasan's "Home" explores exactly the nature of that concept for young Amiya as she returns to 1970s Ohio after several years of childhood in her native India. She is in the position of being both immigrant and emigrant at the same time. As Amiya navigates her return to American culture and second grade, Sreenivasan sheds new insight on what it means to belong and to be different. [...] more

ELENI GAGE Interview

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eleni Gage met with Drum editor Henriette Lazaridis Power on February 29, 2012 for an interview at Newtonville Books in Newton, Massachusetts. Gage spoke about her new novel Other Waters, about living with two cultures and more than two languages, and about aspects of Greek history and of her own family's history. The conversation ranged as well into dicussion of the notion of the curse--a key element of her novel--and how the practical and scientific world and the more mystical world of curses and fate intersect and combine. [...] more


Monday, March 12, 2012

The burning of an opera house, a rivalry between two sisters, self-creation in Venice--these are all elements of Annemarie Neary's short story "Firebird". Its narrative threads woven together like those of an opera, Neary's story mines the relationship between Elvira and Betsy (or Betzi, as she renames herself) and their ongoing attempts to define themselves against and with each other. The story is a meditation on identity and art, originality and imitation. [...] more


Monday, February 27, 2012

The narrator of Vanessa Blakeslee's "Welcome, Lost Dogs" offers a combination of mercy and practicality, sentiment and realism, as she tries to recover her dogs, stolen from her Costa Rican ranch. An expat American, riding the borders between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, she encounters--and is part of--a world in which everything and everyone has a value to be assessed and calculated. She tries to find her way among old relationships and new communities, thinking about what she hast lost and what she might restore. [...] more

ANNE COLWELL excerpt from Holy Day

Monday, February 6, 2012

This excerpt from Anne Colwell's novel Holy Day finds Maxine waking hungover in 1969 to confront her three young children and the challenges that arise from the issues surrounding their birth. Religion, marriage, the ability to be a good mother--these obligations press against Maxine as she remembers the post-McCarthy-era days before her marriage, when even conformity could offer a sense of new beginning. Her decision to convert to Catholicism sets up the complicated balance of independence and loss that both she and her husband now face. [...] more


Monday, January 9, 2012

Colette Sartor's "Dress Shoes" recounts a relationship tested by one friend's transition from male to female. From Elke's perspective, we feel her longing and her sense of loss as her friend Ralph drifts away from her, forming a new bond. "Dress Shoes" is about sexuality--Elke's and Ralph's--but it is also about control, identity, and about the various ways in which we try to make our marks, literal and figurative, on ourselves and on others. [...] more

LESLIE PIETRZYK Lady of the House

Monday, December 19, 2011

Leslie Pietrzyk's novel excerpt Lady of the House brings a crisis into the already unsettled life of sisters Nettie and Lucy in the Chicago of 1900. At the turn of a new century, with their father recently dead and Lucy newly married, both women face decisions about how to respond to the pressures of motherhood and marriage. Their situation sharpens when a maid introduces a crisis of her own into the sisters' household. [...] more

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

Monday, November 7, 2011

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 [...] more

MICHAEL KULA excerpt from The Good Doctor

Monday, October 24, 2011

Michael Kula's novel The Good Doctor opens at the 1917 Wisconsin State Fair where a young veterinarian learns that tragedy has come into his life. With precise and powerful detail, Kula evokes the physicality of the world of David Roberts--both the strength of the body and its vulnerability that becomes all too apparent as the novel begins. [...] more

JAMES MCGIRK The Tramp Steamer

Monday, September 12, 2011

James McGirk's short story "The Tramp Steamer" presents a side of Richard M. Nixon we've never seen before. McGirk imagines the young lawyer and his new bride traveling on a tramp steamer of the United Fruit Company to celebrate their first anniversary. Seasick, angry, jealous, Nixon reveals his inelegance to his wife who yearns for more glamour and glitz. McGirk takes the facts of the Nixons' actual 1941 trip and spins out an incisive and compelling story of bitterness and dreams. [...] more

ROLAND MERULLO excerpts from In Revere, In Those Days

Monday, August 22, 2011

The opening to Roland Merullo's 2003 novel In Revere, In Those Days sets us squarely down in Revere (02151), and in the mind of a narrator for whom the city of his childhood is more than geographical location. For Anthony Benedetto, Revere is a place outside time, a world full of blue-collar families dreaming for something bigger. He looks back on the "ordinary heroism of the household, the factory, and the street" and reflects on those who are able to transcend the bitterness and hardship of their lives. [...] more

ASKOLD MELNYCZUK excerpt from Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fifteen years old and educated beyond his years, beset by the chaos of his family and a possibly pregnant girlfriend, Jonathan Levy Wainscoting IV narrates Askold Melnyczuk's novel-in-progress Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature . Woven through with literary, philosophical, and cultural references, Jonathan's narrative muses on his parents' and his friends' complicated lives on the eve of his forced summer's-long departure from his Cambridge home. Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature first appeared in the June 2011 issue of The Drum , and [...] more

DAPHNE KALOTAY Sunshine Cleaners

Monday, August 8, 2011

Daphne Kalotay's "Sunshine Cleaners" takes place in a laundromat in Brookline (02446), where cultures tumble together in misunderstanding and miscommunication. Sergei ponders the mysteries of America in everything from simple signs to interactions between men and women, while the Tall Girl struggles to make herself understood as her transactions in coins and language repeatedly fail. All the same, the tiny world of the laundromat offers a sweet and surprising payoff. [...] more

JULIE WHEELWRIGHT excerpts from Esther: The Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright, Puritan Child, Native Daughter and Mother Superior

Monday, July 25, 2011

Julie Wheelwright's Esther: The Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright, Puritan Child, Native Daughter and Mother Superior provides a chilling and moving account of Wheelwright's ancestor who was abducted by Native American warriors from her Maine home in the 1600s. In the excerpts she reads aloud for The Drum , Wheelwright tells us about her own search for her ancestor, and recounts Esther's abduction, set in the context of the history and politics of the time. Not for the faint of heart, these excerpts nonetheless offer a vivid look at a [...] more


Monday, June 20, 2011

Amy Yelin's essay "Torn" takes us through a daughter's experience guiding her father through the rituals following her mother's death. Then things get complicated, as Yelin deals with the discovery of her father's secretive relationship with another woman. In exploring that relationship, and the new family dynamic that emerges after its often humorous revelation, Yelin sheds light on the impulses that lead us to reject or welcome one another. [...] more

ASKOLD MELNYCZUK excerpt from Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fifteen years old and educated beyond his years, beset by the chaos of his family and a possibly pregnant girlfriend, Jonathan Levy Wainscoting IV narrates Askold Melnyczuk's novel-in-progress Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature . Woven through with literary, philosophical, and cultural references, Jonathan's narrative muses on his parents' and his friends' complicated lives on the eve of his forced summer's-long departure from his Cambridge home. Excerpts from SMEDLEY's Secret Guide to World Literature first appeared in the June 2011 issue of The Drum , and represents 02139 [...] more


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jael McHenry met with Drum editor Henriette Lazaridis Power on May 25, 2011 to record an interview for The Drum . Taking her novel The Kitchen Daughter as a starting point, Jael answered questions about cooking culture and history, the meaning of recipes and the ways they bind us together, and the narrative challenges and opportunities of writing from the point of view of a character with Asperger's Syndrome. She also described her favorite Manhattan street food, and gave tips on that invaluable skill of supreme -ing an orange. [...] more


Monday, April 4, 2011

"What is it like to be the daughter of a Nazi? " That is the question Christiane Alsop sets out to answer in her essay "Presumed Guilty". Reflecting on her father's tales of his accounts during wartime Germany, contemplating her at-times strained relationship with her father over the years, and her own reactions to the ebb and flow of power, Christiane is torn by the equal tugs of resignation and revelation. Revelation wins out, as she conveys the moral, ethical, and personal challenges of living with that difficult question. [...] more

LYDIA MILLET Oh Pure And Radiant Heart first chapter

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lydia Millet's novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart plucks the three scientists who were integral to the invention of the atom bomb: Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and Enrico Fermi as they watch history's first mushroom cloud rise over the desert on July 16th, 1945, and places them down in modern-day Santa Fe. One by one, the scientists are spotted by a shy librarian who becomes convinced of their authenticity. Entranced, bewildered, and overwhelmed by their significance as historical markers on the one hand, and their peculiar personalities on the other, she, [...] more


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In Dustin Long's novel Icelander , the daughter of a local legend of the investigative arts searches for her dog while avoiding her biological impulse to solve the mystery of her best friend's recent murder. Icelander hums with Norse legend, an alternate reality and a cast of supporting characters including a "rogue library-scientist," a pair of philosophical investigators, and a many-faced villain. Built on mazes of time, language, and narrator, this literary fireworks display shows you what might happen if Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple had been penned by Nabokov then run [...] more


Monday, February 28, 2011

The narrator of Kevin Brown's "One Life" returns to Hong Kong after his wife's death from SARS with the sole mission to contract the disease himeslf so that he can be reunited with her. We follow the narrator through the city as he reflects on his marriage, and ponders the strange situation of trying to stay alive so that he can court a particular kind of death. "One Life" is read aloud by Actors' Shakespeare Project actor Bill Barclay . [...] more


Monday, February 7, 2011

Jennifer Haigh met with The Drum 's editor Henriette Lazaridis Power to answer questions about movies, film adaptations, Edith Piaf, and why she prefers gray days. Jennifer also talked about the ideas behind her novels, including her fourth, FAITH, which is due out in May 2011. [...] more

LYNNE TILLMAN No Lease on Life

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The East Village streets of Lynne Tillman's No Lease on Life are overrun with crooked cops, drug addicts, pimps and prostitutes. Garbage piles up along the sidewalks amid the blaring soundtrack of car stereos. Confrontations are supercharged by the summer heat wave. This merciless noise has left Elizabeth Hall an insomniac. Junkies roam her building and overturn trashcans, but the mean-spirited landlord refuses to help clean or repair the decrepit conditions. Live-in boyfriend Roy is good-natured but too avoidant to soothe the sores of city life. Though [...] more

JENNA BLUM Interview

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jenna Blum joined Drum editor Henriette Lazaridis Power to answer questions about her writing room, snow bombs, synaesthesia, Woodrow, the stormchasing dog, and what she sings along to while she's driving across the wide open spaces of the US. Jenna's second novel THE STORMCHASERS will be coming out in paperback on April 26, 2011. She read a chapter of the novel for The Drum 's May 2010 issue. [...] more

SHARON BIALLY Veronica's Nap

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sharon Bially's novel Veronica's Nap opens with the high winds of summer in the south of France, twin toddlers, and the pressures of painter's block. Hear the first chapter here, and read the rest at Veronica's Nap . [...] more

BOSTON BOOK FESTIVAL The Web of Relationship Panel

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Courtesy of the Boston Book Festival, a recording of the Web of Relationship panel with Ann Hood, Brunonia Barry, and Joanna Smith Rakoff, moderated by Henriette Lazaridis Power. The discussion took place in the Rabb Lecture Hall of the Boston Public Library on Saturday, October 16th. We hope you enjoy the discussion of secrets in novels, structure, the obligations that come with connection, and how to write novels in the post-cell-phone age. Audience members asking questions include one author's blast from the past, a twentysomething who's not on Facebook, and a [...] more


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shubha Sunder's "Climb" layers relationships between cousins, between mothers and daughters, and between brothers and sisters with the tug between two cultures. In Sunder's story, a voyage with Trupti's relatives visiting from America turns out to reveal the stresses within the older girl's seemingly perfect life. [...] more

JENNIFER HAIGH Claire of the Moon

Monday, October 11, 2010

Award-winning novelist Jennifer Haigh's "Claire of the Moon" tells the story of a little girl who can't tolerate the sun and the adults who try to shield her or to let her bask in its reflection. [...] more


Monday, September 20, 2010

Sandra Jensen's "The Good Wife," set in the South Africa of the 1950s, explores difficulties facing a politically motivated woman who has given up her anti-apartheid activities to look after her husband and young son. [...] more

A. IGONI BARRETT My Smelling Mouth Problem

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A. Igoni Barrett's "My Smelling Mouth Problem" brings together a Nigerian traffic jam, popular music, and a bad case of halitosis to tell a lively story about personal and cultural independence. [...] more

PETE SMITH Testimony

Monday, July 5, 2010

The female narrator of Pete Smith’s “Testimony” tells the story of an affair that starts with a cloud of drinks and ends in the mystery of not knowing a partner. Smith explores the ways in which a self can become lost between a past and a present, youth and maturity--and intoxicating drinks and an even more intoxicating partner. [...] more


Monday, June 21, 2010

A Halloween dinner with her estranged father and his new wife exposes tensions and fault lines in Claudia’s world. A single mother with a young son, she tries to preserve the spirit of trick or treat against her father’s wishes, until finally the stressful meal veers towards a new and alarming direction. [...] more


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Michelle Hoover’s essay “Our Litter Bertha” recounts her discovery of her great-grandmother's journal, the document which she later used to inspire her novel, The Quickening . Hoover ponders the stories of her Midwestern family found in diaries and letters. She contemplates her upbringing and the consequences of her relocation from Iowa to Boston. The essay is a vivid study of the connection between identity and place. [...] more

AIMEE LOISELLE Three Women Wishing For A Boy

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aimee Loiselle’s“3 Women Wishing for a Boy” follows three generations of young women hoping to win their mother’s love while they respond to pregnancy, love, and sometimes both at once. [...] more

EB MOORE Kennebec

Saturday, May 1, 2010

EB Moore’s “Kennebec” finds its protagonist struggling to come to terms with the drowning of his young stepson. As Carl mourns by the river that has taken the boy’s body, he wrestles with his guilt and with his first attempts to regain a normal life. [...] more

theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction


under 10 min

under 20 min

under 30 min

under 40 min