Adult children untangle their pasts in two stories about fateful marriages and what comes down from parents to children.

Delmore Schwartz’s classic “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities” established his reputation as a new literary voice when it was published in 1937 in The Partisan Review. Written on his 21st birthday, it describes a surreal dream in which his parents’ courtship is viewed as an old-time movie. SHORTS’ literary commentator Hannah Tinti says that this is an irresistible narrative, because we are all fascinated with our parents’ lives and “how we began.” The powerful read is by Leonard Nimoy.

The narrator of Tess Gallagher’s “The Lover of Horses” tells of family with a wild streak—the men are gypsies and horse whisperers and cardsharps; the women are the skeptical, stable centers of the home. “It’s not something they do, but something they are,” notes guest host Jane Curtin in a conversation with Tinti. But in this moving story of “being stolen by things” the heroine has a profound change of heart. Reader Kate Burton’s many credits include her critically acclaimed performance in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, and roles in the television series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. She is currently performing in Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood at the Williamstown Theater Festival. LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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