What unites this program's two rather different stories is that both are tales of deepening insight, stories whose main characters undergo profound and life-altering experiences. The program begins with "The Seventh Man," by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, and it starts with an old fashioned device: On a dark and stormy night, a group of men sit around a circle and tell their stories. The reader is John Shea. In our second tale, Aimee Bender's "The Rememberer," the heroine's lover undergoes a remarkable transformation that changes both their lives forever. The reader is Tony Award-winner Marian Seldes. A brief interview with Seldes follows the reading.
Guest host Colum McCann curates a show with many takes on masculinity. Readings are drawn from the anthology, The Book of Men, created with Esquire magazine and the storytelling collective Narrative 4. Featured writers include Roddy Doyle, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tea Obrecht, Adam Haslett, Ian McEwan, and Colum McCann. All works are read by Gabriel Byrne, Stockard Channing, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Corey Stoll, and BD Wong.
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents three stories about acting purposefully. In Tobias Wolff’s “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs,” a meek academic goes off the rails. The young boy in Doris Lessing’s “Through the Tunnel” dares himself to make a dangerous swim, and the confident young woman in “Barbara Stanwyck, It's Your Time to Shine" by Bianca Galvez isn’t taking nonsense from anyone.
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Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories about women whose lives change dramatically. Hope Davis reads “The Lone Pilgrim,” by Laurie Colwin, in which a demur illustrator finds love, and Christina Pickles reads “The Night Bookmobile,” by Audrey Niffenegger, in which a lonely bookworm finds a very private library.