Doppelgangers and Knights

Jonathan Hadary reads “What Happened Between Us” by Rivka Galchen, and Jane Curtin reads “Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

In this week's episode of Selected Shorts, a husband thinks his wife is a doppelganger and a knight in shining armor makes an appearance in a London suburb.

First, Jonathan Hadary reads Rivka Galchen's "What Happened Between Us." Galchen has said that her writing deals with what happens when the familiar and the strange change places, and this story demonstrates that idea beautifully. Some of the story was written at the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam Avenue, near Columbia University, which is to Upper West Side writers what Les Deux Magots, on the Left Bank in Paris, was to Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Ernest Hemingway.

The unfamiliar—or at least the wildly unlikely--makes an appearance in our second story also. It's Neil Gaiman’s charming tale, “Chivalry,” which is about a feisty widow finding the Holy Grail—in her local thrift shop—and a knight in shining armor turning up to reclaim it. Gaiman has been one of the top writers in modern comics for more than twenty years and is now a best selling novelist. His story collections include "Fragile Things" and "M is for Magic." He is also the author of the children’s book "Coraline," which was made into a feature film, and the Newberry-Award-winning children’s novel, "The Graveyard Book." Emmy Award-winning actor Jane Curtin reads Gaiman's story at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

The musical interlude is from Aaron Copland’s “Vitebsk.” The Selected Shorts theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

We’re interested in your response to these programs! Please leave us a comment below.


Jane Curtin and Jonathan Hadary

Comments [12]

Lori Koonce from San Francisco

Thank you for two wonderful stories! They were both well read, and both hit spots I wasn't expecting to be hit.

I'd love it if you did a Harlan Ellison and Neil Gamin set at some point!

Sep. 21 2010 05:57 PM
Ryan from NC

A great reading of one of my favorite Gaiman stories. Enjoyed it quite a bit, thank you for making it available.

Sep. 21 2010 01:14 AM
Luana from Missouri

Thank you for a perfect end to my day. A wonderful reading by Jane Curtin by my favorite author Neil Gaiman. Sigh....

Sep. 21 2010 12:24 AM

Jane Curtin did a wonderful job of reading "Chivalry." Perhaps we could get another Gaiman reading soon? Thanks.

Sep. 20 2010 10:05 PM
Dan Hassett from Lee, MA

I was fortunate enough to have a friend introduce me to the novels of Neil Gaiman a couple years ago. He is undoubtedly amongst the top of my favorite authors list. "Chivalry" is a lovely departure from the sometimes macabre style normally associated with Gaiman's vast spectrum of works. I am pleasantly surprised that NPR selected one of Gaiman's shorts and would very much appreciate hearing more in the future.

Sep. 20 2010 09:45 PM
asha fenn from Stockton Springs, ME

Wonderful! Just wonderful!

Sep. 20 2010 09:34 PM
IanG from San Jose CA

I love, though not in the carnal sense, me some Jane Curtain. A special treat to have her reading a fun short story from one of my favorite modern authors.
Thank you Jane and Neil, and of course all the supporters of Public Radio and the good work they do.

Sep. 20 2010 09:20 PM
Juan Pizarro from Utrecht

Thanks, it was a delicious way to rest mi eyes and keep my mind amuse by Neil´s stories.

Sep. 20 2010 08:40 PM

Neil is G R E A T!

Sep. 20 2010 08:35 PM
Elizabeth Campbell

Thanks for noting what the music is, too, I appreciate that!

Sep. 20 2010 08:10 PM
Jeff Pfeiffer from Columbus, Ohio

I heard the Neil Gaiman story, "Chivalry". I love his work to begin with, and this was no exception. It's one of his few, humorous stories, done with a light touch, and wonderfully read by Jane Curtain. I would love to hear more of his work on your show. Keep em coming!

Sep. 20 2010 08:03 PM
Kevin Harris from Nashua, NH

In the first story, it appears that the author is having a stroke, and that a particular portion of the brain is affected. In addition to the "doppelganger" phenomenon, the author mentions that he has a migraine headache. This is discussed at length in the "RadioLab" episode, "Do I Know You", also from WNYC, from 8-Mar-10, see:

Sep. 20 2010 09:54 AM

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