Memory Slips: A Memoir of Music and Healing

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9780060187309: Memory Slips: A Memoir of Music and Healing

A concert pianist describes how the sudden resurgence of repressed memories of years of sexual abuse by her father and the suicides of her two brothers destroyed her ability to remember and produce music, and her painful struggle to confront the past and regain her life. 35,000 first printing. $30,000 ad/promo.

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Review:

Concert pianists perform from memory, a brutal but inescapable convention of musical life. Of all the demons they face onstage, none is greater than the fear of a memory slip. Cutting's bitter, dignified memoir tells the story of a musical life nearly shipwrecked by childhood molestation at the hands of her minister father. Beginning with a terrifying slip that triggers the gradual breakdown of a successful concert career, the narrative moves through hospitalization, painfully recovered childhood memories, and finally, a struggle toward compassionate understanding and a truce with the past. Throughout, she weaves the powerful theme of music: as a bribe, an addiction, a joy, and an escape.

From the Publisher:

"There are three kinds of memory slips, I tell my students. One, when Memory slips but you find your way back without losing a beat. Two, when you don't find your way back until the downbeat. Three, when you don't find your way back in time and must stop and restart the music. I don't tell them about a fourth possibility , when one memory slips, another intrudes and you don't find your way back for a very long time." -- from Memory Slips

Linda Katherine Cutting's memoir of family and music movingly portrays the trauma and recovery of a woman whose childhood was betrayed by those who were supposed to protect her. In exquisite prose she illuminates the inner life of a child for whom the gift of music was the only refuge, a refuge that protected her as long as it could. For when Linda began to remember what her father had done to her and her brothers -- both eventual suicides -- she stopped being able to remember Beethoven's notes.

Linda Cutting's writing bears witness to what had occurred. Her stunning "Hers" column, originally printed in the New York Times Sunday Magazine in October 1993, was clipped and carried in wallets and pocketbooks and reprinted around the world. Now, her memoir Memory Slips, will not only reach out and give voice to victims of abuse but also move anyone who cares about the power of writing, the beauty of music and the innocence of children.

"In her writing, Linda Cutting displays the same grace, thoughtfulness and talent that she's always brought to her music-making. With courageous candor, Linda has shone light into the darker corners of her own compelling life, and we, the readers, are richer for it." --John Williams, Academy Award-winning composer and conductor laureate, The Boston Pops Orchestra
"This is a mesmerizing story about the loss of music and innocence and -- very nearly -- the self; and the subsequent recovery of all those things. It is testimony to the power of Linda Cutting's writing that the same book that tears at your heart can, in the end, make it rise up with gladness." --Elizabeth Berg, author of Talk Before Sleep, Range of Motion and The Pull of the Moon

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