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Talk To Me: Happy Story Endings

Friday, January 08, 2010

Writers Colm McCann, Jonathan Dee and Rich Benjamen dug deep into the heart of America: white America, urban America, rootless America. They were all in the house for the Happy Ending series at Joe’s Pub

Rich Benjamin read from his provocative odyssey, "Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America," which recounts Benjamin’s journey, as a black man, into the “whitest” regions of the country, including the Aryan religious conference described in this segment.

Colum McCann’s National Book Award-winning novel "Let the Great World Spin" has the genre of “faction” covered, with its web of stories linking characters on a single day--August 7, 1974--the day Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers.

Jonathan Dee rounded out the evening with an engaging reading from his new novel "The Privileges," in which an opinionated first grader chides her parents for their rootlessness.

Happy Ending host Amanda Stern asks her readers to take a risk on stage, and here, too, the three authors took wildly divergent approaches. Benjamin handed out index cards with his good and bad personality traits, and asked the audience to read them aloud, Dee admitted to being a childhood shill for a seed company and McCann recited from memory the end of James Joyce’s great short story, “The Dead,” which reminds us that--at this shivery time of year--the snow falls faintly through the universe “like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

Guitarist Jim White was the musical guest. Stream their readings, and live music from Americana master Jim White, here.

 

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Talk to Me brings you downloadable readings and conversations with writers, artists, and scholars – from author Joshua Ferris to choreographer Mark Morris to poet Sharon Olds – recorded at cultural institutions in New York City and beyond. Stream, download, or subscribe to the full-length podcasts here.

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