Selected Shorts: Adventures in London and The Wild West

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An émigré wanders through London, looking for home, and Cary Grant’s suit travels America, pursued by villains in “North by Northwest.”

This week’s story selection has a wide geographical span: one story about a Russian immigrant to the city of London, and one that culminates in the wide American West.

Our first reading is an excerpt from Rose Tremain’s novel, "The Road Home," which was featured on a program of stories presented at Symphony Space entitled “PASSPORT TO LONDON.” Tremain is the author of nine novels, including "Music and Silence" and "Sacred Country" and three story collections, including "Evangelista's Fan and Other Stories." She also broadcasts book reviews on London radio. "The Road Home" received the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction, and in the excerpt featured here, an impoverished Russian newcomer struggles to find a job in big, unfriendly London. The reader is Paul Hecht, with whom we talked about his career in an interview that follows the story.

SELECTED SHORTS has featured stories about people of every kind, and even many about all sorts of animals, but this program marks an unusual milestone — our first story about a man’s suit. The impeccably tailored, perfectly fitting, wrinkle-resistant suit that is the hero of Todd McEwen’s humorous essay, “Cary Grant’s Suit” is the one the actor wears throughout his many adventures in Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.”  And whether issuing from a Madison Avenue office, being chased by a crop duster airplane through the cornfields, or scrambling around the rocky faces of Mount Rushmore, McEwen maintains that Grant’s famous suavity can all be credited to this indestructible suit. The reader is James Cromwell, whose own range of roles is also adventurous, ranging from Farmer Hoggett in “Bab” to William Randolph Hearst (“RKO 28”) to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (“The Queen”). 

The musical interlude in this program is “Come with Me Anyway,” from the album “Two Siberians Out of Nowhere.”  The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please click here.

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