Memory Slips: A Memoir of Music and Healing

Linda Katherine Cutting, Author
Linda Katherine Cutting, Author HarperCollins Publishers $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-018730-9
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-06-092879-7
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In her attempt to ""own a little more of [herself],"" Cutting, a concert pianist, recalls her life in a family of two older brothers, both of whom committed suicide as adults, a younger sister who seems to have come of age unscathed, a mother who was ever compliant to the author's father, a Congregational minister who, she claims, beat her and her brothers and sexually abused her when she was six. Her wrenching, articulate, expressively titled memoir is not so much a report of events as an ordering of her reactions to them. Like programme music, Cutting's story is revealed here by the scores she practices and tries to master, except during those times she is institutionalized. Leading up to those periods, she stops making music, for she suffers memory slips. The memoir moves back and forth between 1982 and 1992, although one brother killed himself much earlier, in 1975, when he was 29 and the author was 19. During her growing-up years, which are only sketchily recreated and will strike many readers as routinely domestic, the family moved around the country frequently; after studying at the New England Conservatory, Cutting settled in Boston, where she married and divorced and achieved celebrity performing with the Boston Pops. In 1991, she reported to the National Association of Congregational Churches that her father had abused her sexually; her charges were greeted as hearsay, and the suggestion was made that she first prove her case in court. Apparently Cutting has chosen instead to try her father in the court of public opinion, thrusting the reader into the disquieting position of determining her credibility. 30,000 first printing. (Jan.)
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