Selected Shorts: Loss and Recovery

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Manhattan, New York City by night (Dude Pascalou/flickr)

Four tales of loss and recovery in the past and present make up this varied program.

The first story on this provocative program is by Etgar Keret, the Israeli filmmaker and writer well known for his dark, somewhat outlandish fiction.  The author’s wild imagination is reflected in the titles of his story anthologies, such as The Nimrod Flip-out, The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God, and The Girl on the Fridge

Keret’s “Good Intentions,” features a professional hit man whose latest assignment calls him to question his line of work.  The reader is the distinguished actor Leonard Nimoy.

“Lost and Found” is Colson Whitehead’s meditation on walking through the constantly changing streets of New York City, collected in his book of essays, The Colussus of New York.  Whitehead returns to the city in a startling new vein in his most recent book, Zone 1, which has been hailed as a thinking person’s zombie tale.  The reader of “Lost and Found” is the multi-faceted star Alec Baldwin, Emmy winner for his comedy show “30 Rock” and most recently trying on a variety of hosting hats as the presenter of the Academy Awards, the New York Philharmonic and public radio’s “Studio 360.”

A mother and daughter rediscover one another in “My Mother,” a sinuous and fantastical memoir by Jamaica Kincaid, from her collection At the Bottom of the River.  The reader is Laurine Towler, whose films include Woody Allen’s “Small Time Crooks.”

Our final story is Charles Johnson’s “A Soldier for the Crown,” from his collection, Soul Catcher and Other Stories.   This touching story imagines the situation of the slaves who, at the time of the American Revolution, were offered manumission and freedom if they joined the British forces to fight against the colonists.  One soldier’s story reveals the risks and rewards of this life gamble—listen for the surprise ending.  The reader is the actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tony Award-winner for his work in August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars,” and the author of the critically acclaimed “Lackawanna Blues.”

The musical interlude is “Autumn in New York,” performed by Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin from the album Menuhin And Grappelli Play "Jealousy" And Other Great Standards (EMI/Angel, ASIN B000002SDS).   The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

“Good Intentions,” by Etgar Keret, read by Leonard Nimoy

“Lost and Found,” by Colson Whitehead, read by Alec Baldwin  

“My Mother,” by Jamaica Kincaid, read by Laurine Towler

“A Soldier for the Crown,” by Charles Johnson, read by Ruben Santiago-Hudson 


For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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


Alec Baldwin, Leonard Nimoy and Ruben Santiago Hudson

Comments [4]

From the producers:

Colson Whitehead's remarkable essay Lost and Found seemed to us perfect for the 9/11 memorial special we put together, even though some listeners would also be encountering it as part of the regular season.

Oct. 10 2011 09:35 AM

Why is Lost and Found” by Colson Whitehead on the program twice in 3 weeks?

Sep. 29 2011 04:47 PM

From the producers:

Thank you for your interest in contributing to our series. Submissions may be sent to Katherine Minton, Director of Literary Programs, Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, New York, NY 10025. Please note that SELECTED SHORTS features only published short fiction. The one exception is our annual Stella Kupferberg Short Story Prize contest. For information about the contest and submission guidelines, please visit our website at

Sep. 26 2011 10:09 AM
Melvyn Chase from Fairfield, CT

As an author who hasn't been represented on Selected Shorts, is there a possibility of submitting one of my own short stories as a candidate for your program?

Sep. 26 2011 10:02 AM

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