life rattle show no. 1233

Presented on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2012


Hosted by Laurie Kallis


"Grandpa's Visit"
by Mark Bialy
"The Visit"
by David Penhale

tonight's Show

Tonight, on Life Rattle Number 1233, we present a new story by Mark Bialy and a Life Rattle classic by David Penhale..

Both of the stories we bring you tonight are thick with tension. Both are from the viewpoint of a young person who feels the strain between their parents and a grandparent. With reasons left unsaid, we, the listeners, are left in the same position as the narrators who squirm uncomfortably, unsure of why or how things went awry, and must face unexpected behaviour from the adults who they expect to be solid and dependable.

Our first writer, Mark Bialy, was born in 1991, to Polish parents, in Oakville, Ontario, where he has lived his entire life. Mark is in university, studying biology and chemistry in hopes of one day making it to medical school.

"Grandpa's Visit" focuses on a father and son, the narrator’s father and grandfather who he meets for the first time. The pain felt by both adult men is tangible, yet we don’t know the source, and perhaps that is just as well, because any reason for the estrangement is mute at this point—all we see is the resulting pain in the here and now.

Tonight's second story is a classic, written and read by David Penhale. Born in Toronto in 1948, the younger of two boys, David grew up in the west end of the city. After dropping out of university, he worked for his father’s roofing business for six years before returning to school and finishing his degree in languages. David began teaching in 1976 and taught full time until the early 90s, when he went on leave and spent two years in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. He also taught for a summer in Pakistan.

Since the time we recorded David reading, he has published his first novel, Passing Through, with Cormorant Books. David Penhale now lives in Toronto, where he teaches writing and is working on a second novel.

Though similar in theme to Bialy’s story, David’s "The Visit" incorporates an extra element of tension with an older brother who adds his own twist of pressure to the family mix.