The Power of Love

“Love” by Tibor Dery, performed by Keir Dullea, “Silver Water” by Amy Bloom, performed by Linda Lavin

« previous episode | next episode »

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two gripping short tales about the power of love.

The Hungarian author and political activist Tibor Dery experienced mixed fortunes throughout his life.  He was the recipient of Hungary’s highest artistic honor, the Kossuth Prize (in 1948) but was also imprisoned twice, once in 1936 for translating Andre Gide’s diary of his journey to Russia, and again twenty years later for his writing and actions during the Hungarian revolt against Soviet occupation. He died in 1977.  He must have drawn on those experiences when he wrote “Love,” which powerfully depicts a political prisoner’s return home.  The work is the title story from Dery’s collection Love and Other Stories, and is read by SHORTS regular Keir Dullea.

The second story on this program, Amy Bloom’s “Silver Water,” is a very rare work in the way it actively combines hilarity and heart-breaking sorrow in portraying a family with a schizophrenic daughter.  The reading at Symphony Space brought audience, actor Linda Lavin, and host Isaiah Sheffer to tears, and Bloom talks about her subtle crafting of this piece with Sheffer as part of this program.  She admits that “love, death, sex, and family,” are at the heart of many of her works, which include A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, Love Invents Us, and Normal.  Her newest book is called Where the God of Love Hangs Out.  She is currently writer-in-residence at Wesleyan University.

Listen to Isaiah Sheffer’s interview with Amy Bloom here:

The musical interludes are from Michael Torke’s “Corner in Manhattan,” Gavin Bryar’s Sleeping Beauty No. 17, "Panorama", and Franz Schubert’s “Schlummerlied.”  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, click here.

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit

Announcing the 2011 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  This year's theme is stories set in restaurants and bars.  The judge is the author Jennifer Egan and the deadline is March 1, 2011. 


Keir Dullea and Linda Lavin

Comments [5]

gary from USA

@ John - The collection is "Come to Me"

May. 29 2012 08:00 PM

From the producers:

Thank you for your kind comment. Information about where the stories featured on SELECTED SHORTS are available in print can be found at our website,

Dec. 20 2010 09:19 AM

From the producer:

Dear Maier from NY:
We very much appreciate your concern about the language in the story. Unfortunately, words that are considered profane, whatever the context, are not permitted in broadcast according to FCC regulations.

Dec. 13 2010 10:55 AM
John Parker from Canada

From what collection of Amy Bloom"s work is Silver Water from?

Linda Lavin's reading was incredible.


Dec. 08 2010 09:03 PM
Maier from NY

I have long enjoyed listening to SS with only one peeve. I find your use of the "bleep" offensive to the listener and the author. It is hubris on your part to think that the listeners' delicate ears may be offended and that the author did not carefully select the words for his story.

Nov. 29 2010 07:39 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.