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 David Sedaris presents two stories about family pressures. Patricia Highsmith is best known as a thriller writer but “The Door is Always Open and the Welcome Mat is Out” is a wonderful character study of a working woman nervously entertaining a judgmental sister. Tandy Croyn reads. In Tobias Wolff’s “Powder,” it’s a father and son, taking an exhilarating drive in a snow storm. SHORTS late host Isaiah Sheffer was the reader.
Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about hard choices. In Amy Hempel’s “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried,” two old friends face death together and apart. The reader is Mary Beth Hurt. In Tobias Wolff’s “The Night in Question” a sister and brother disagree about the right thing to do. Lou Antonio reads. And Sedaris gives an hilarious performance of Frank Gannon’s “I Know What I’m Doing About All the Attention I’ve Been Getting,” about a narcissist with an existential wardrobe crisis.
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program of stories by Dorothy Parker, a member of the witty Algonquin Roundtable. A honeymoon disintegrates in “Here We Are,” read by Jane Alexander; a woman has one too many in a speakeasy in “Just a Little One,” read by Dana Ivey, and indie star Parker Posey describes the partner from Hell in “The Waltz.”
Guest host David Sedaris presents a program celebrating the late David Rakoff, and praising him as a great reader and “lover of language.” Rakoff reads Leonard Michaels’ “Cryptology,” in which a neurotic mathematician has a strange encounter, and Roberto Bolano’s “Gomez Palacio,” which is a dead-end town where a young man’s life nevertheless takes a turn for the better.
Colson Whitehead, Walter Dean Myers, and Susan Cheever praise Central Park, and late baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti talks about the green fields of the mind. Readers include Leonard Nimoy, Eric Poindexter, and Debra Monk.