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Potomac Books


The Untouched Minutes, The Untouched Minutes, 0803232381, 0-8032-3238-1, 978-0-8032-3238-9, 9780803232389, Donald Morrill , River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, The Untouched Minutes, 0803204280, 0-8032-0428-0, 978-0-8032-0428-7, 9780803204287, Donald Morrill , River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize, The Untouched Minutes, 0803245629, 0-8032-4562-9, 978-0-8032-4562-4, 9780803245624, Donald Morrill , River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Priz

The Untouched Minutes
Donald Morrill

2004. 102 pp.
$21.95 t
Out of Stock
2012. 102 pp.
$14.95 t

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.

Donald Morrill is a professor of English at the University of Tampa and poetry editor of The Tampa Review. He is the author of two previous books of nonfiction, most recently Sounding for Cool, and a book of poetry, At the Bottom of the Sky.

"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

The Untouched Minutes is a probing tour de force, exploring both the terror and the mystification of a home invasion. This book often feels as if it has been written in a dream, the prose luminous, hallucinatory, voluptuously vivid, the writer engaged in a detective story and an epistolary meditation on the self-as-victim, the self-as-witness. An intensely personal and political book.”—Patricia Foster, author of All the Lost Girls: Confessions of a Southern Daughter.

“In a time when fear is everywhere—and everywhere manipulated, exploited, and trivialized—Donald Morrill takes a different tack. Morrill searches for intellectual understanding and personal healing, exploring his own fears and those we share with rigorous lucidity, courage, and honesty.”—Jeff Gundy, author of Scattering Point: The World in a Mennonite Eye.

“Visceral, eloquent, probing, lyrical, and always intelligent, this compelling narrative braids personal experience with public phenomena so skillfully that it brings the reader close to comprehending at least the shadowy outlines of the incomprehensible.”—Ruth Schwartz, author of Edgewater.

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

River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize Winner


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