Selected Shorts: Complicated Couples

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A long marriage and the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the nuclear age in stories hosted by Wyatt Cenac.

Native American author Sherman Alexie offers a portrait of a marriage in “Do You Know Where I Am?”  He comments that one of his intentions in this story was to look at educated, upper-middle class Native Americans, a group not often written about.  He was also interested in the texture of a life-long relationship.  The story is read by Keir Dullea, one of several actors—John Lithgow and BD Wong are others—who have really partnered with Alexie’s tough and tender stories.

In Alexie’s story, the characters are husband and wife.  But in Donald Barthleme’s “Game” we’re waiting out the Cold War, in an undisclosed bunker, with two paranoid guys who could make everything go “Boom.” 

Reader David Strathairn has played such historical figures as Martin Heidegger and Edward R. Murrow.  Thank God the close-to-the edge characters in “Game” are figments of this late New Yorker writer’s quirky imagination.  Barthleme published numerous volumes of short stories, four novels, and a children’s book for which he won the National Book Award.  He was also the 1988 recipient of the Rea Award for the Short Story.

“Do You Know Where I Am?,” by Sherman Alexie, performed by Keir Dullea

“Game,” by Donald Barthelme, performed by David Strathairn

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