Let's Not Talk

This program has the provocative title “Let’s Not Talk.” That's because a longing for silence plays an important part in both of this week's featured stories.

Kevin Brockmeier’s “The Year of Silence” was included in The Best American Short Stories 2008. The story speculates on what it would be like if all the noise, all the sounds of civilization and daily life, were to fade to an auditory stillness. Brockmeier lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, and is the author of such novels as The Brief History of the Dead and The Truth About Celia. Reader Anthony Rapp appeared on Broadway in the musical “Rent” and as Charlie Brown in the Broadway revival of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

Selected Shorts Host Isaiah Sheffer likens our second story, Ring Lardner’s “Liberty Hall,” to the traveling game of “Conversation Stoppers” in which players vie for the honor of making the most boring observation. In Lardner's tale, first published in 1928 in a magazine with the fitting title Hearst’s International Cosmopolitan, a sophisticated show business couple gets trapped in a ghastly chatter-filled weekend and takes extraordinary measures to escape. Five-time Emmy winner and screen actor Christina Pickles reads the story.

The musical interlude in this week's episode is The Unavailable Memory of, from Music for Prepared Piano, by John Cage.  The Selected Shorts theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

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