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The Untouched Minutes [Hardcover]

Donald Morrill


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Book Description

April 1 2004 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize Series
What would you be willing to do to save someone, perhaps someone you loved? On a moment’s notice, for instance, would you lunge between that person and an assailant’s knife strike? In that same situation, what would you be willing do for yourself? And what if there were nothing, ultimately, to be done?

These and other such questions live in the untouched minutes—questions most of us are, fortunately, never compelled to answer, though the media exposes us daily to the stories of those who are. In February 2001, on what started out as a typical Sunday afternoon, Donald Morrill and his wife Lisa Birnbaum became the victims of a home invasion and found themselves faced with the specter of ultimate contingency. In The Untouched Minutes, Morrill recounts and examines the events of that day and its aftermath as well as the circumstances surrounding the murders of Dartmouth professors Half and Suzanne Zantop, which occurred the same week.

Set against the unfolding drama of post-9/11 America, The Untouched Minutes explores how violence and the threat of violence color and recast one’s assumptions and can plot the course of people facing the unknown, the unknowable, the irredeemable. Morrill presents a memorable portrait of what it means to take back the life that, finally, wasn’t taken, and in the process he offers a powerful meditation on terror and security, home and travel, art, race, luck, and our individual places in the wider world.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 102 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803232381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803232389
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 14.5 x 22.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 268 g

Product Description

From Booklist

Alternating between the first and the third person, Morrill explores an early-evening burglary that occurred at his home. He and his wife, lying in bed, were disturbed by an intruder. The burglar eventually takes off with their car and computer, leaving them unharmed, on their knees in the bathroom, listening to the sounds of neighborhood children playing outside. But their peace of mind is forever shattered, as Morrill reveals in this stream-of-consciousness review of his life, the burglary, and an assortment of other recent crimes and tragedies, most notably the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the brutal murder of two Dartmouth professors in their home. He cites crime statistics one moment and indulges in fantasies of revenge the next, explores the shame of powerlessness and admits a new paranoia. Morrill ponders the circumstances and possibilities of the crime, names his intruder, and analyzes his personality and motives. In this fascinating tour de force, Morrill extrapolates living with fear and insecurity on an individual level to national anxiety about the disasters that can befall us. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"In this fascinating tour de force, Morrill extrapolates living with fear and insecurity on an individual level to national anxiety about the disasters than can befall us." —Booklist


"Emotional and literary, this memoir is recommended for all libraries."—Library Journal


“With one act of violation, the bubble of the private life opens to admit the public—and Morrill interrogates the nature of the ‘suddenness’ brought to bear on mortality. His acutely self-conscious and astutely philosophical response asks us to address the many kinds of violence—what we see and what we don’t—that connect our lives to a world outside.”—Judith Kitchen, author of The House on Eccles Road
(Judith Kitchen)

“The Untouched Minutes braids together three narratives, from three different perspectives: Don and Lisa as they reeled during and after their home invasion; the murder of Dartmouth professors Half and Suzanne Zantop, who had been killed only five days before the Morril’s break-in; and the country’s crumbling sense of security after 9/11.”--Lane DeGregory, St. Petersburg Times

(Lane DeGregory)

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