Family is our focus on this edition of SELECTED SHORTS. Our first story, Peter Taylor’s “Porte Cochere,” is about an angry father, and his children and his house, and our second, Alice McDermott’s “Enough,” portrays a mother seeking to get the most out of life.
Peter Taylor’s “Porte Cochere,” was first published in The New Yorker in 1949, and this tale of an obdurate Tennessee father and his children still packs an emotional wallop. As reader Leonard Nimoy commented, “this is a strong one.” A “porte cochere” is a structure built onto the entrance of a building where vehicles stop and pass through. In this tale of an aging patriarch going anything but gentle into that good night, SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti likens the image to Emily Dickinson’s famous poem “Death”:
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
Leonard Nimoy’s moving reading brings to difficult life the emotional bafflement of a man abused in childhood who resents the very security he has created for his children.
In contrast, Alice McDermott’s luscious “Enough,” is all about embracing the pleasures of life. Tinti comments: “I love this story. Especially coming from a Catholic background, the idea McDermott begins with—about a “good soaking” of dishes and also the soul—to make them clean and Godly, is something I’m very familiar with. But McDermott turns this concept in a new direction, telling us that to live a good life, a full life, you also need to soak in life’s pleasures—love, sex—and especially (in this tale) ice cream! Gving “Enough” its full due is Fionnula Flanagan.
The musical interludes are from “Deep Listening,” created and performed by Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, and Panaoitis. The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”
“Porte Cochere,” by Peter Taylor performed by Leonard Nimoy
“Enough,” by Alice McDermott performed by Fionnula Flanagan
For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/genres/seriesPage.php?seriesId=71&genreId=4
We’re interested in your response to these programs. Please comment on this site or visit www.selectedshorts.org
And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at http://hannahtinti.com
(This program first aired during our 2010 season.)