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Correction of Drift

A Novel in Stories

Pamela Ryder

Publication Year: 2008

Explores the lives behind the headlines of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, evoking anew the scope of tragedy through the vision of literary fiction.
It was called the crime of the century, and it was front-page news: the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories imagines the private lives behind the headlines of the case, and examines the endurance—and demise—of those consumed by the tragedy.

Every character brings a different past life to the event, be it a life of celebrity, or of misfortune and obscurity. There is Anne Morrow Lindbergh—daughter of a millionaire, the shy poet who married a national hero; Charles Lindbergh—the rough-and-tumble Minnesota barnstormer, who at age twenty-five made the first transatlantic flight, bringing him world-wide prestige; Violet—the skittish family maid with a curious attachment to the boy and a secret life that lapses into hysteria and self-destruction; and the kidnappers—an assembly of misfits with their own histories of misery. All are bound by the violence, turmoil, and mystery of the child’s disappearance as it becomes evident that each life has been irrevocably changed. Patterns of bereavement and loss illuminate these stories: despair at the death of a child; the retreat into seclusion; the comfort and the desolation of a marriage. But the heart of this novel is the far-reaching nature of tragedy, and the ways the characters go on to live—or end—their lives.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-11


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pp. 11-12


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pp. 13-18

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In the Hands of the Pigman

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pp. 19-40

They lit out on foot, in wing tips, in oxfords—black & white, and oxblood brown—and sharp-toed boots of yellow buck with high tops and a fancy stitch—hurrying along the moon-bright road, following the markers of snowpatch in ditches and the vapors of the one of them ahead ...

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Correction of Drift

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pp. 41-60

He sees the scattering of toys in the unslatted illumination of the moon: a clown in grosgrain with a grimace of lace, whose hat would horribly jingle (if one dared); the little airplane of lead with its propeller fixed by a pin (“No,” he had said, “not a replica—a two-seater, a stagger wire”); ...

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Boy Is Gute, Etc.

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pp. 61-72

Boy is in gute care—doan worry aboud dis. If you brig polize into it it too dangerus for boy. Tell anyeone und we mus cansel deal. Dis is ouer deal: Make mony redy. all usetd bills: 100,000$ in 20 $ bills 100,000$ in 10 $ bills 50,000$ in 5 $ bills ...

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Dreams, Sightings, Expressions of Sympathy

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pp. 73-96

The gunny being looser in its weave, allowing the exchange of air, permitting inhalation of bits of hemp found inside the nose and mouth. Unlike the strands found along the windowsill: wool snagged from what might have been someone’s trouser seat, and cotton from the diaper or the footed sleeping suit. ...

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pp. 97-118

She sets the table with her thick china dishes, a boat for the gravy, a cellar for the salt. In the center sits a tumbler with a sprig of something she picked curbside at the corner of Two Hundred and Decatur. The afternoons were long. The mister was usually missing. And she had taken to wandering a bit too far—a pioneer! ...

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In the Sitting Room

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pp. 119-138

The Colonel had explained it all as she was shown about: a system of speaking tubes, a series of wires and bells permitting the staff to be summoned from anywhere in the house—“buzzed” or “rung” was what the Colonel said, so she—Violet—could be called, for instance, if he had misplaced his razor ...

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Keeper of the Cormorant

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pp. 139-158

He liked to say he owed his life to silkworms when recounting the ditches, the crack-ups. She knows the story of the tailspin north of Peoria and the collapsed chute south of St. Louis; about the bailouts into potato patches and barbed wire, and that crash landing in a field of wheat. ...

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pp. 159-182

Which was exactly why the house—the beach house, or “bungalow” as he called it—sounded as if it was just what they had been looking for: tucked away in a grove of bamboo, rustic but comfortable. Perfectly suited to their purposes, with a view of the Gulf from the bedroom window, the agent said, and a view of the dunes from the kitchen. ...

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pp. 183-189

Above us: the window. Winter, of course, or early spring, and seasonably cold, as they say. Much like today. Snow at the roadside, gusts. In the eaves: thaw, shagbark leaf, and the small crack from the weight of the ladder. A rattling in the gutter pipe. The chipping of a redpoll. A migrating bunting. ...

Back Cover

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p. 191-191

E-ISBN-13: 9781573668057
E-ISBN-10: 1573668052
Print-ISBN-13: 9781573661423
Print-ISBN-10: 1573661422

Page Count: 189
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: First edition