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The Drum

Issue 13. June 2011

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

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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 for our Zip-Code Stories project in collaboration with WBUR.

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LAURA PACKER Running Away With Greta

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Laura Packer's "Running Away With Greta" focuses in on one night in the life of a little girl experiencing the temptation of escape and the pull of home. In miniature, this flash-fiction piece examines the complicated relationship between danger and comfort, risk and safety.

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NADINE LYNN KENNEY How to Meet Your Future Husband (and Almost Scare Him Away)

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Nadine Lynn Kenney's "How To Meet Your Future Husband (and Almost Scare Him Away)" presents a nightmare mother on a Florida beach vacation. An oversexed parent, her parents' troubled marriage, her own attraction to a young vacationer, and an excess of alcohol are all ingredients in the narrator's bad trip.

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MICHELLE SEATON Low Tide

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Michelle Seaton's "Low Tide" takes a tide pool as the starting point for its study of independence and growth. A child's discovery becomes the source for a mother's discovery too, as parent and child explore the water's edge.

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AMY YELIN Torn

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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.

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GINA OCHSNER Sleeping Beauty

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Gina Ochsner's "Sleeping Beauty" is a retelling of the old story, set in Yakusha, one of the coldest parts of Russia. In this version, the beauty of the title is a young girl working in a Russian market, seemingly trapped inside her kiosk until a suitor with an unlikely errand frees her. Ochsner's prose mingles the lush details and fantastic elements of folk tales with the realities of the contemporary world.

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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
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