Mirror

February 3, 2013

Two Tales of Illusion with Guest Host Neil Gaiman

In “Miracle Polish,” by Steven Millhauser, the protagonist buys a gimmicky product from a door-to-door salesman that changes his life—or does it? Guest host Neil Gaiman likens Millhauser’s disconcerting fantasy to the fairy tale “Snow White,” in which the heroine’s wicked stepmother demands reassurance from her mirror. In “Miracle Polish,” the phlegmatic narrator slowly becomes more and more obsessed by his own reflection. Shorts regular Paul Hecht gives this bewildered character a bemused gravity.

The Edwardian writer H.H. Munro wrote under the pen name Saki, and his tales of preposterous goings on in elegant society are often deliciously funny. But sometimes, says Gaiman, he tips into full-blown horror. His classic, “The Open Window,” features a beguiling young woman, a hypochondriac guest, and one of the great last lines in comic fiction. The reader is Tandy Cronyn. LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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