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The Drum

Issue 26. July 2012

PRAIRIE MARKUSSEN Nothing Special

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Prairie Markussen's "Nothing Special" tells the short, moving story of an old Korean woman fighting for permanence in her changing city. Am-yeong Im, given the name for babies not expected to survive, patiently and insistently works for the survival of her home. In Markussen's story, a woman's small act of erasure turns into an attempt to make something last. (4:01)

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AINE GREANEY Green Card

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Aine Greaney's essay "Green Card" recounts a trip to renew the eponymous card in Lawrence, MA. As her GPS tries to lead her to the INS office, Greaney meditates on the obstacles and miscommunications of the immigrant's experience. She thinks over her years in the United States, her departure from Ireland, and her sense of belonging to those who don't belong. Greaney's essay offers a thoughtful meditation on cultural and personal identity. (16:19)

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MARY MEDLIN Not Now But Soon

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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. (46:10)

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CHARLES RAFFERTY Dump

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In Charles Rafferty's "Dump," a simple garbage trip becomes a test of a newly single father's need for his children's safety. While he worries, they are carefree. He is left to ponder his daughters' responses to a world in which people leave--sometimes without returning. (3:14)

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SABINA MURRAY Balboa

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Sabina Murray's "Balboa" imagines the explorer in 1513 as he climbs a ridge on the Isthmus of Panama and sees the Pacific Ocean. "Balboa," Murray writes from the explorer's point of view, "is that divining line between the modern and the primitive." In this story, from her collection Tales of the New World, Murray investigates the meaning of civilization, discovery, and the foreign, and makes us consider the intersection of power and desire. (20:27)

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