"Freda weighed eighteen pounds when she was born. Her feet were each six inches long. At ten she was taller than her father." So began Nephelim, read by L. Annette Binder, from her award-winning debut short-story collection, Rise, at the South End Library recently. Husky-voiced, slightly swaying while leaning into her attentive audience, the author spun a magic tale of love and death, a dance between the physical fate of Freda and her all too human quest for love, which centers on the neglected boy of a neighboring family. Finely woven details describe the cruelty of physical deformity and the tenderness with which Freda's mother tries to find a place in the world for her doomed large child. The former attorney, a classics major who was born in Germany but raised and educated in Colorado, told the listeners she finds the seeds of her materials from "something I hear on the street," or "a blip in the newspapers," but that what drives her stories is "character." Binder's
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first novel, unpublished, is stored in a 'lined desk drawer,' as she put it, but she is currently at work on another, based on a short story also included in Rise, called "Dead Languages." Binder's five favorite books are listed under The South End Writes tab on this web site.