Guest host Denis O’Hare introduces two stories about outsiders. A tutor finds her privileged teenage client mystifying in Kyle McCarthy’s “Ancient Rome,” read by Tavi Gevinson. This story appeared in Best American Short Stories 2017. Guest editor Meg Wolitzer praised its droll humor, intelligence, and understanding of “the other.” Kyle McCarthy’s work has appeared in American Short Fiction, the Harvard Review, Southwest Review, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Reader Tavi Gevinson could serve as a role model for the ‘tween’ in “Ancient Rome,” starting a successful blog, Style Rookie, at age 11, and going on to establish the online magazine Rookie while pursing an acting career (in “This is Our Youth” and “The Crucible” among other works) and working on a memoir.
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a young Nigerian woman comes to America for the first time, and it’s not what she imagined. The work is the title story of Adichie’s story collection. She is also the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, as well as the non-fiction works We Should All be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.
Adichie’s story is read by Condola Rashad, whose work in television and film includes “Sex and the City 2,” “Money Monster,” and “Billions.” Her extensive stage career includes performances in “Ruined,” “Stick Fly,” “Steel Magnolias,” “The Trip to Bountiful,” and “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”