The Descent of Music: Stories

The Descent of Music: Stories

5.0 1
by Deborah Cumming
     
 

Fiction. In her first collection of fiction, 'Deborah Cumming's delicately beautiful stories left me feeling attuned to the very sound of time and generation, let me glimpse a spaciousness in human life through which-in the midst of the stories' deftly drawn complex of human connections-we accept, here and there, the mysterious breakthrough of the music of the

Overview


Fiction. In her first collection of fiction, 'Deborah Cumming's delicately beautiful stories left me feeling attuned to the very sound of time and generation, let me glimpse a spaciousness in human life through which-in the midst of the stories' deftly drawn complex of human connections-we accept, here and there, the mysterious breakthrough of the music of the spheres. It is an amazing achievement'--Rosa Shand. 'Cumming writes from the deep interior of her characters, giving invitation to their private thoughts, their filigree spirits, their rich, red hearts' parlors. She is not afraid to reveal the most complex, startling emotions, and in doing so, lays bare what's real'--Ashley Warwick.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The fine-spun, meditative stories in Deborah Cumming's debut collection, The Descent of Music, capture a generation of women who forged careers and raised children in the '60s and '70s, and are left to wonder what now? At a 25th Peace Corps reunion, a woman and her former lover muse about what has become of their activist spirit and reminisce about his motorcycle, which rivaled her for his affections. An elderly woman who has recently installed her husband in a nursing home revels in the eerie pleasures of solitude. A cosmopolitan New Yorker and former civil rights lawyer ponders her strained relationship with her "churchy" grown daughter living in Milwaukee. Some of the subject matter is familiar, but Cumming, a former teacher and Thai translator, keeps sentimentality at bay with carefully wrought prose and stark honesty. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This introspective first collection of stories Cumming is about music and memory, reflecting upon a life spent looking for meaning, and dreams deferred. Her prose is sensual and atmospheric, as well as Proustian in its love of detail and its tendency to use triggers to bring back floods of memory. "Marian Anderson" explores a complex relationship between a stepmother and a stepdaughter via a dispute over ownership of a record album. "How It Could End," (seemingly) details the last few hours of a woman's life, closing in a way that is as satisfying as it is ambiguous. Several stories involve characters who, like the author, have spent time in India. The languid pace, as well as the exclusive focus on women's experiences and perspectives, may limit the book's appeal, but those interested in exploring a world where the "truth of what happened" is negotiable will not be disappointed. For public and academic libraries. Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780970272010
Publisher:
New Harbinger Publications
Publication date:
02/01/1902
Series:
Plum Branch Press Series
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.46(d)

Meet the Author


Deborah Cumming wrote Recovering from Mortality during the 29 months between the discovery that she had advanced lung cancer and her death. Born in 1941, she grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Swarthmore College and Columbia University. A lifelong concern for disadvantaged people led her to work in prison-bail, Upward-Bound, and community-action projects in New York City and Washington, and later in an affordable-housing group in North Carolina. A teacher of writing and literature, she worked with college and secondary students in New York, South Carolina, and India. While teaching in Thailand she translated and edited A Premier Book of Contemporary Thai Verse (with Montri Umavijani and Robert Cumming). She wrote short stories and poetry as well as essays; her stories are gathered in a critically acclaimed collection, The Descent of Music. She died in 2003 at her home in Davidson, North Carolina.

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The Descent of Music 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Descent of Music by Deborah Cumming is carefully woven of fine stories: ideal for reading and discussing.