Thursday, January 10, 2013

Colwin, Mr. Parker, #3

Laurie Colwin
"Mr. Parker"
Published 1973
From the New Yorker Short Story Podcast, airdate 8/1/12
Read by Maile Meloy
#3 Short Story Project, 300 in 2013

This is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who takes piano lessons from a teacher in the neighborhood. His wife dies, and that death marks a transformation in the girl, her relationship to her mother, and to her own understanding of what it means to perform well enough, through practice, to make real music.

It's a simple story really, but the language used carefully describes the fading process that life deals out to older people. There's also a running theme of innocence vs. knowing. It's not funny, like Colwin's novel Happy All the Time, but in a small number of words, the reader is let in on the girl's inner life.

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