In a personal chronicle that is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Tim Page revisits his early days through the prism of newfound clarity in “Parallel Play.” Here is the tale of a boy who could blithely recite the names and dates of all the United States’ presidents and their wives in order (backward upon request) yet lacked the coordination to participate in the simplest childhood games. It is the story of a child who memorized vast portions of the World Book Encyclopedia simply by skimming through its volumes but was unable to pass elementary school math and science. And it is the triumphant account of a disadvantaged boy who grew into a high-functioning, highly successful adult – perhaps not despite his Asperger’s Syndrome but because of it, as Page believes. For in the end, it was his all-consuming love of music that emerged as something around which to construct a life and a prodigious career.
Tim Page is a professor of music and journalism at the University of Southern California. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1997 for his writings about music for The Washington Post. He is now a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. His book was the September selection for our Connect: 21CM Book Club. Now, host Sylvia Yang presents questions to Page posed by our readers.