Guest host David Sedaris presents three stories about growing up and rites of passage.
First, a young woman is drawn into a social charade in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Nairobi.” Oates’ fiction is often dark, violent, and gothic–her many published works include the novels We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, Bellefleur, and The Gravedigger’s Daughter. Her short story collections include Lovely, Dark, Deep, High Lonesome, and I Am No One You Know: Stories. Among her many awards are the National Book Award and the Rea Award for the Short Story.
“Nairobi,” is not a chiller, but a delicate and secretive social comedy of manners, and its qualities are surfaced in this reading by Alison Pill, from The Getty Center in Los Angeles. Pill has appeared on the television series “The Book of Daniel,” “In Treatment,” “The Pillars of the Earth,” and “The Newsroom.” She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” Other stage credits include “Night of the Iguana” and “Wait Until Dark.” She recently appeared in the comic film “Zoom.”
In our second story, by Amy Hempel, BFF’s re-examine their relationship in “The Most Girl Part of You,” read by Kate Burton. Hempel is a contemporary master of short fiction. Her collections include At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, The Dog of the Marriage, and The Collected Stories. She is also a Rea Award winner, and has been honored as well with the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction.
Kate Burton is a multiple Tony-nominated stage and television actor whose many credits include Broadway productions of “The Constant Wife,” “Hedda Gabler,” “The Elephant Man,” and “The Cherry Orchard.” Her television work has included featured roles on “Grimm,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Scandal.” She will be opening on Broadway in a revival of Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” this spring.
Our final story reads more like a poem. In “Boys,” Rick Moody compresses the lives of two brothers from childhood to maturity. Moody is a skilled creator of both coming-of-age and mid-life crisis narratives in novels like Garden State, The Ice Storm and Hotels of North America. His fiction collections include The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, Demonology, and Right Livelihoods.
Reader BD Wong is a multiple award-winning stage actor (M. Butterfly) who is also well known for his television work on series like “Law & Order: SVU,” “Awake,” “Gotham” and “Mr. Robot.”