Selected Shorts: Family Matters

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3 segments

Guest host Jane Curtin presents works about family.

Families bind us, define us, love us, and sometimes drive us crazy.  So it’s no wonder they’re the source of so many stories, real and fictional.  First, the actor Anjelica Huston reads from her memoir, A Story Lately Told.  It offers a vivid and detailed portrait of her own extraordinary family, which included her charismatic father, the director John Huston, his father, actor Walter Huston, and Anjelica’s mother, a ballerina with a Mona Lisa smile.  Huston’s father and grandfather had long and illustrious careers in Hollywood, both taking away Oscars for their work as director (John) and actor (Walter) in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Huston herself won an Oscar for her work in “Prizzi’s Honor.”  Her many screen appearances include playing the role of Greta Conroy in her father’s last film, an adaptation of James Joyce’s “The Dead,” and her television work includes “Smash.”

Next, Russian writer Linor Goralik gives us a glimpse of a tumultuous marriage.   These two brief pieces are excerpts from a cycle of flash fictions called “Says”—as in “he says,” or “she says.”  They were translated from the Russian by Anya Ulinich.  Reader Nina Arianda won a Tony Award for her portrayal of the temptress Vanda in David Ives’s “Venus in Fur.”  She is currently appearing in The Manhattan Theatre Club production of “Tales from Red Vienna.”

Our final work about family and families is Susan Perabo’s “Indulgence.”  It’s a touching and funny mother-daughter story, maybe a little transgressive in this day and age, because they bond over their love of cigarettes.     Perabo is the author of the novel The Broken Places and a collection of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be.  “Indulgence” was published in One Story magazine.

Reader Hope Davis is one of our regulars.  Among many film and television appearances, she was recently seen in HBO’s “The Newsroom.”

“A Story Lately Told” (excerpt) by Anjelica Huston, performed by Anjelica Huston

“Says,” (excerpt) by Linor Goralik (translated by Anya Ulinich), performed by Nina Arianda

“Indulgence,” by Susan Perabo, performed by Hope Davis

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at