Anna Sale, host of the popular podcast Death, Sex, and Money, from WNYC Studios, joins us for stories about all these subjects.
First, Lydia Davis, a consummate master of language, contemplates the right words to describe the death of a father, in “Grammar Questions”. Davis’s spare but moving body of work has been honored with a Booker International Prize, and MacArthur Fellowship. She was recently elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of Varieties and Disturbance, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and most recently, The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. She is also decorated translator, including a new translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Reader David Costabile is best known for his roles on “The Wire,” “Flight of the Conchords,” and “Breaking Bad.” He can currently be seen on Showtime’s “Billions.”
A Death, Sex, and Money listener suggested our second story, “Until the Girl Died,” by Irish writer Anne Enright. The unspoken contract between an unfaithful husband and a tolerant wife is shaken by an accidental death. Sale says this story is about all the things that “go unsaid in a marriage.” Reader Kathleen Chalfant’s career spans more than 40 years. In 1996, she was honored with the Obie Award for Sustained Excellence and the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work, which includes her Tony-nominated performance in “Angels in America,” and “Wit,” for which she won Obie and Drama Desk awards, among others. On television, Ms. Chalfant has had recurring roles on “Rescue Me,” “House of Cards,” and “The Affair.
Life-changing events aren’t just on the minds of adults, as Joe Meno’s “Animal Hospital,” proves. Grief-stricken by the death of the family cat, the children in this story take a game of make-believe a little too far. Joe Meno is a playwright, novelist, short story writer, and music journalist from Chicago. He is the author of six novels and two short story collections including Demons in the Spring, The Great Perhaps, and The Boy Detective Fails. Reader Becky Anne Baker’s work includes roles on the television shows “Girls” and “Freaks and Geeks.” On stage she has appeared most recently at the Public Theater in “Barbecue.”
Our last story, “The Silk Handkerchief,” is by Sait Faik Abasiyanik, considered one of the greatest Turkish writers of the 20th century. Many of his stories were autobiographical and expressed his frustration with social convention, the relentless pace of Westernization, and the slow but steady ethnic cleansing of Turkish society. This tragic-comic story of love and risk certainly has its roots in social disparity, but is also about unexpected friendships, and moments of truth. It’s read by Amir Arison, who currently stars alongside James Spader on “The Blacklist.” He’s also appeared in “Girls,” “Homeland,” and “American Horror Story.”