Lessons in parenting

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Poignant lessons in parenting from an American master and a contemporary Chinese author.
"Perhaps this is what people meant when the talked about ‘falling in love’. The desire to be with someone everyday, for the rest of her life, so strong, sometimes she frightened herself.” -- Yiyun Le, “Extra"

Poignant lessons in parenting from an American master and a contemporary Chinese author.

SELECTED SHORTS listeners will need no introduction to John Updike, the grand old man of American letters. Updike’s charming, but pointed, story “Learn a Trade,” will resonate with every anxious parent, and every artist wondering if talent is a gift, a burden, or a fluke. Reader Paul Hecht is one of the grand men of the SELECTED SHORTS team, a Tony nominee for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and award-winning books on tape reader, of Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News among other titles. Hecht read “Learn a Trade” at the Westport Arts Center in Westport, CT, as part of SHORTS’ growing touring program.

Yiyun Li’s “Extra” was presented as part of a Symphony Space evening celebrating the woman authors of Random House. She grew up in Beijing, attended Peking University and emigrated to the United States in 1996, at first to study medicine, and then to write. She is a graduate of the celebrated Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and Glimmer Train, among other journals. Her first collection of stories is A Thousand Years of Good Prayers. Reader Lois Smith was nominated for a Drama Desk Award and received the Lucille Lortel Award for her lead performance in Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful. Her many other theatre credits include Buried Child, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Iceman Cometh. Films include East of Eden, Five Easy Pieces, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Minority Report.

Learn a Trade by John Updike, read by Paul Hecht
Extra by Yiyun Li, read by Lois Smith

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space

Comments [1]

CNnaemeka from New York

Yiyun Li's story is a gem beyond compare. I have listened to it continuously for the past week and have yet to grow tired of it.

I daresay that if you are on a mission to make a positive impact on the world, Yiyun Li has shown that being a loving parent, to your kids or someone else's or even to another adult, is as divine and noble mission as they come.

This is a love story of the purest kind and Lois Smith deserves an award for delivering this poignant tale with such brilliance and wit.
To have so thoroughly upstaged the great and beloved John Updike... Ms. Li is a goddess among literary mortals and I wish her continued success.

Great selections. Thank you to the fine people behind this program.

Jun. 30 2008 04:02 AM

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