The new season of SELECTED SHORTS begins with a program focusing on the mystery and allure of objects. In Steven Millhauser’s “In the Reign of Harad IV” a court miniaturist longs to create smaller and smaller worlds. Millhauser has commented on the fact that he moved from novels to short fiction—a reverse of the usual trend for authors—saying, “It’s as if the novel were a kind of preparation for the rigorous pleasures of the shorter form. For me, the shortness of a great story is part of its greatness.”
SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti comments: “It made me wonder if he was like the miniaturist in his story, moving from writing novels to stories. That there is somehow more beauty in something that is smaller and contained. A microcosm of the world.”
The reader at the Getty Center in Los Angeles is the distinguished actor, director, and photographer Leonard Nimoy.
Objects are not things of beauty in Aimee Bender’s “Americca,” where she pokes slyly at the Land of Plenty by giving one family too much. Duplicates of ordinary household objects keep appearing, leading one character to exclaim, “We’ve been backwards robbed!” In an interview with Hannah Tinti, Bender says that it’s important that we don’t know for sure what agent is responsible for the mysterious gifts, and that the story, is “something about home.”
Bender is the author of the novels An Invisible Sign of My Own and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and story collections including Willful Creatures and The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.
“Americca” was performed by Jane Levy at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Levy is featured in the television series Suburgatory. This is her SELECTED SHORTS debut.
In Abigail Thomas’s short piece, “Rocking Chair,” a dilapidated antique tests the strength of a marriage—she thinks it has charm; he thinks it has spiders. Abigail Thomas’s books include the memoirs A Three-Dog Life and Safekeeping. The reader is Tony-nominated actress Kate Burton, whose credits include Hedda Gabler on Broadway and a featured role on the television series Scandal. She also appears in Josh Radnor’s movie Liberal Arts. LISTEN TO THE SHOW