Passions Run Deep

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Racial prejudices are met and mastered in unexpected ways in two contemporary tales.

In each of these two very American stories, a fervent belief drives the narrative along.  The first story on this program, Tobias Wolff’s “Bible,” is from an annual Symphony Space evening devoted to the Houghton Mifflin volume The Best American Short Stories, edited in 2008 by Salman Rushdie. The story’s alarming opening scenario—a woman hijacked in her car—gives way to developments that surprise both us and its heroine.  Wolff is the celebrated author of such volumes as In the Garden of North American Martyrs, This Boy’s Life, and Our Story Begins. The reader, Jane Alexander, has had a career ranging from Broadway to Hollywood (her work includes “The Great White Hope” and “The Sisters Rosensweig.”)  to running the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our next story, Percival Everett’s extraordinary “The Appropriation of Cultures,” also defies our expectations as its hero hits on a novel strategy for defeating racial prejudice.  A favorite with Selected Shorts live audiences, its author has produced 16 novels, three collections of short fiction, and two volumes of poetry. The reader is the Tony Award-winning (“Seven Guitars”) Broadway actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson. 

“Bible” by Tobias Wolff, read by Jane Alexander

“The Appropriation of Cultures” by Percival Everett, read by Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

The musical interlude is Lebanese Blondes, by Thievery Corporation.  The Seelcted Shorts theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

Please post a comment below or at the Selected Shorts Web site with your thoughts on this series.