A poverty-stricken guitar virtuoso navigates the political landscape of nineteenth-century Parisian society as he comes out of retirement for one final concert. A sessional instructor competing for the prestigious Interdisciplinary Chair in Aretha Franklin studies gets sidetracked by her obsession with a mysterious student in a yellow hat. A dying doo-wop DJ and his wife try to bridge the estrangement wrought by illness as they travel in search of the horns, drums, and vocals of highlife.
In the eleven stories that make up The Doctrine of Affections, Paul Headrick takes us on a fascinating journey into the heart of music. From the perfectly honed decrescendo of a symphony’s string section to the down-home chord progressions at a late-night kitchen party, Headrick’s stories question the subtle differences between hearing and listening, and communicating and understanding. The subjects of this collection are soloists, ensemble players, scholars, collectors, and lovers of music, but their experiences with risk, religion, relief, and often regret make their stories resonate for readers who are hearing their songs for the first time.
Paul Headrick completed an MA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, and a PhD in English Literature at York University. His first novel, That Tune Clutches My Heart (Gaspereau Press), was published in 2008 and was shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Awards). He is also the author of a textbook, A Method for Writing Essays about Literature (Nelson Education). Paul currently lives in Vancouver, where he teaches English Literature and Creative Writing at Langara College.