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The Drum

Issue 20. January 2012

JAMES CLAFFEY A Clip on the Ear


James Claffey's "A Clip on the Ear" blends a Catholic litany with the rituals of a boy's Sundays at home in Ireland. It's a home presided over by a violent father who, when not away on the North Sea oil rigs, maintains strict control--over his wife, his children, the household rituals, and the litany itself. The boy seeks refuge in the hiding places of his home and in his fantasies of revenge. (5:40)

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E.R. CATALANO Trying Lessons


In E.R. Catalano's "Trying Lesson," a young girl's search for Titian in the hair-color aisle is the starting point for more than a superficial transformation. Looking for a sense of home and belonging, the narrator of this excerpt from Catalano's novel-in-progress Becoming the Girl Detective seeks identity through her admiration of Nancy Drew. Perhaps if she can model herself after the girl detective, the narrator can solve the mysteries surrounding her own family. (11:10)

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STORIES ON THE STREET James Joyce's "The Dead"


James Joyce's "The Dead" takes place on or around the New Year and Epiphany, January 6, and that is when The Drum ventured into Times Square to record Joyce's story for our Stories on the Street Project. Listen as passersby and New Year's Eve revelers take their turn reading Joyce's prose aloud, each one in his or her own unique accent. This Stories on the Street audio of the final paragraphs of "The Dead" was recorded and produced by Sara Fetherolf. follow the recording with the text of "The Dead" from Project Gutenberg (4:53)




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. (45:09)

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short fictionextra largerelationshipscrisis

theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

novel excerpt

short fiction


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