Friday, January 22, 2010

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed

By Joshua Ferris
(Reagan Arthur Books, Hardcover, 9780316034012, 320pp.)

Publication Date: December 22, 2009

I read the advanced reader copy of this book several months ago and found myself strangely moved by the story of this family. It is not a warm story and certainly not a feel good book and I admit I found it somewhat disturbing. The reviews have been mixed but it is a book that I find myself thinking about, even now, several months after having read it.

Shortly after reading "The Unnamed" I was glancing through a publisher catalog and came across another title "The Dancing Plague - The Strange, True Story of an Extraordinary Illness" by John Waller. In this non-fiction book, Waller presents several ideas as to what could cause someone to dance, without stopping, in some cases so severe that the afflicted could actually be said to dance themselves to death.

While the time period and circumstances studied in the two books are very different and one is fiction and the other non-fiction, there are some definite similarities in the way the authors look at human nature and the effect of societal norms.

Here is a trailer for "The Unnamed":

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2010 Indie Next List

“Tim Farnsworth, a respected litigation attorney for a high-powered Manhattan law firm, is seized by a bizarre illness: He cannot stop walking. Whether taken as a form of mental or physical illness or read as an allegorical tale, The Unnamed is an absolutely heartbreaking story of love, marriage, family, and what it means to be successful in today's society.”
-- Joni Montover, Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX

Publisher Description:
He was going to lose the house and everything in it.

The rare pleasure of a bath, the copper pots hanging above the kitchen island, his family-again he would lose his family. He stood inside the house and took stock. Everything in it had been taken for granted. How had that happened again? He had promised himself not to take anything for granted and now he couldn't recall the moment that promise had given way to the everyday.
Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol. His wife Jane still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And, even as his daughter Becka retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father's honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home. He loves his kitchen. And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

THE UNNAMED is a dazzling novel about a marriage and a family and the unseen forces of nature and desire that seem to threaten them both. It is the heartbreaking story of a life taken for granted and what happens when that life is abruptly and irrevocably taken away.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Atlantic Brass Quintet at SPI Convention Center

The Atlantic Brass Quintet

Atlantic Brass

Thursday, January 28, 2010, El Paseo Arts Foundation will host the South Texas Premiere Performance of the Atlantic Brass Quintet. Their concerts have been described by critics as

“Less like a staid occasion where the music sits politely on stage and more like a party that wants you to come aboard.”

Widely acclaimed as one of the world's finest brass ensembles, the Atlantic Brass Quintet has been heard in 48 of the United States and more than a dozen countries across four continents. They perform a unique repertory spanning Praetorius, Bach and Stravinsky, and the brass music from the streets of Brazil, Cuba, the Balkans, and New Orleans.

Winner of six international chamber music competitions, the Quintet's distinctive sound, impeccable ensemble, stunning virtuosity and warm, inviting stage presence have won praise from scores of critics.

Highlights of their busy concert schedule include performances at Carnegie Hall, The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Fleet Boston Celebrity Series, and the White House. The quintet is also active on the international scene, with performances the last two seasons in Italy for Palladium Musicum, in South Korea for the Jeju Summer Band Festival, in Taiwan for the Hsing Tien Kong Culture & Education Development Foundation, and for the National Concert Association in Panama.

The individual members of the quintet bring a wealth of talent and experience to the ensemble.

Louis Hanzlik (trumpet) is based in New York City, where he is active as an orchestral player, chamber musician, and educator. Mr. Hanzlik performs with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Orpheus. In addition, he serves as co-principal trumpet with the Riverside Symphony (New York), IRIS Chamber Orchestra (Memphis), and is a member of the orchestra for Broadway’s Mary Poppins. As an educator, Mr. Hanzlik is a trumpet instructor and chamber music coach at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Seth Orgel (French horn) is Assistant Professor of Horn Louisiana State University and has degrees from Northwestern University and Louisiana State University. After spending more than ten seasons with the Syracuse Symphony horn section, he moved to Boston to pursue and active freelance career including shows, jazz orchestras, orchestral, and chamber work. Orchestral credits include the Chicago Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Filarmonica de Caracas, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Rochester Philharmonic, Buffalo Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, and currently principal horn with the Baton Rouge Symphony.

Tim Albright (trombone) lives in New York City where he enjoys a diverse career as a sought-after chamber musician and a cutting-edge jazz artist. He is a regular member of many New York ensembles including Argento New Music Project, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and the Riverside Symphony. Mr. Albright is also a long-standing member of renowned saxophonist Steve Coleman’s group, Five Elements, widely considered one of the most challenging gigs in jazz. He can be heard on numerous recordings and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the U.S. He is also frequently heard in the orchestras of current Broadway shows.

John Manning (tuba) is a founding member of the Atlantic Brass Quintet and serves on the faculty of the University of Iowa. Mr. Manning received his music degrees from Boston University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has also served as principal tuba of Air Force Band of the Golden West, the Albany Symphony, the Vermont Symphony, and the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra. Professor Manning has served on the faculties of Boston University, Boston Conservatory, and the University of Massachusetts, and has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Andrew Sorg (trumpet), a member of the Triton Brass Quintet, is filling in for Alex Holton for this performance. Mr. Sorg is an active freelancer in the Boston area and has performed with various orchestras such as the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra, the Indian Hill Symphony, Emmanuel Music of Boston, the New Bedford Symphony, the Berkshire Symphony, and The New Hampshire Symphony.

The Atlantic Brass Quintet can be heard on recordings from Summit Records, Solstice, and Crystal.Their website, features selections from their music.

The evening of art begins at 6:30 p.m, with complimentary hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and art exhibit by the Laguna Madre Art League. Lights go up on the concert stage at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $25 per person and $20 for El Paseo members. Tickets are available at the SPI Visitors Center, Paragraphs Book Store, Designer Consigner, the Port Isabel Library (cash or check only), and online at www.elpaseoarts. For additional information, call 956-943-4700.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear this incredible group.