Embracing Disaster: Joyce Carol Oates and Etgar Keret
Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories by two masters of the form who share an outré sensibility. Humor, humanity, and fantasy all combine in four tales of things gone wrong. In “Fly Already” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber, a widower and his small son watch a drama unfold. In “Where Are You?” by Joyce Carol Oates, performed by Dianna Agron, a demanding husband pushes his wife to the limit. In “One Gram Short” by Etgar Keret, performed by Ira Glass, a stoner makes a really bad deal; and Oates introduces an unlikely “Assassin,” in a story that combines tongue-in-cheek horror and political satire. Becky Ann Baker is the reader.
Too Hot For Radio: Jess Walter "Thief"
From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins , our story today comes from the first collection of short fiction from Jess Walter. We Live In Water is a suite of diverse and searching stories about personal struggle and diminished dreams, all of them marked by the wry wit, keen eye, and generosity of spirit that has made him a bookseller and reader favorite, including Barack Obama who called “We Live in Water: Stories” one of his favorite books of 2019. A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 32 languages, and his fiction has been selected three times for Best American Short Stories as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Nonrequired Reading . His stories, essays and journalism have appeared in, Harper's , Esquire , Playboy, McSweeney's , Tin House , Ploughshares , the New York Times , the Washington Post and many others.
Our reader, Josh Malina, is well-known for playing Will Bailey on the NBC drama The West Wing, Jeremy Goodwin on Sports Night, David Rosen on Scandal, and President Siebert on The Big Bang Theory. This episode is hosted by comedian, author, and actor, Michael Ian Black and features a very funny conversation between Black and the author after the story.
Guest host Hope Davis presents two stories about imagined worlds. In “The Dreamlife of Toasters,” by Heather O’Neill, an android falls in love, and there are consequences. The reader is Yvette Nicole Brown. In Stefan Zweig’s “The Invisible Collection,” a blind man is able to “see” priceless drawings. The story is performed by René Auberjonois.
Guest host Jane Curtin presents three stories in which small things count for a lot. A discarded sock reminds one woman of her ex-husband in “The Sock” by Lydia Davis, read by Kaneza Schaal. Sisters find a chess set at a department store in Meg Wolitzer’s “Deep Lie the Woods,” read by Blythe Danner. And old-time jazz musicians and their funny clothes, food, and drink charm a young drummer in “Nightblooming,” by Kenneth Calhoun, read by Josh Charles.
Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories in which a lot happens, but subtly. The narrator of A.M. Homes’ “Yours Truly” is “hiding in the linen closet” on a journey of self-discovery. The reader is Beth Malone. In Weike Wang’s “Omakase” a couple’s special sushi dinner proves unexpectedly revealing. The reader is Jennifer Lim.