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The Drum

Issue 47. April 2014

LISA BORDERS excerpt from The Fifty-First State


A handful of sentences form the opening chapter of Lisa Borders' novel The Fifty-First State, setting her characters on an inexorable course towards tragedy and connection, and sending her readers into a world of lush detail and intensely-felt emotion. Hallie and Josh Corson share a father but little else—until a grisly highway accident at the novel's outset leaves them both without parents. Forced to come together on the family's struggling tomato farm, Josh and Hallie grow in ways they never expected, and discover that even in death’s wake, lives can change for the better. (4:22)

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ANDREA ROBERTSON The Greenbriar Ghost


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. (29:39)

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ERICA SHUBIN When Jesus Died


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. (29:41)

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BEN WARNER Sandcastles


The threat of violence hangs in the air as a young boy waits in a hotel room for his bookie father to return from a fight in Ben Warner's "Sandcastles". Guarded by an ally, the boy, Snake, is full of questions about what can truly protect him. Guns, knives, or fists? Or possibly, the men entrusted with his care. (9:33)

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theme: comedy

theme: crisis

theme: relationships

theme: family

genre: essay

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