Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Podcasts of Four Short Stories-Eudora Welty, Grace Paley and two Raymond Carver Works

Podcasts of Four Short Stories
 "Where is the Voice Coming From" by Eudora Welty (1963, 33 minutes, read by Joyce  Oates) listen here
"Conversations with my Father"  by Grace Paley (15 minutes, read by Ali Smith)  listen here
"Fat" by Raymond Carver  (17 minutes, read by Anne Enright, 1989)-listen here
"Chef's House"  by Raymond Carver (1981, 18 minutes, read by David Means-listen here

I have just recently began to explore using podcasts to listen to short stories.   Yesterday I listened to Carson McCuller's "The Jockey" which I greatly enjoyed.    Since then I have listened to four more podcasts,  two on the web page of The New Yorker and two at the Manchester Guardian.   On both of these web pages the story is read by a well known author and their is a conversation with that author and a story editor about why they selected to read the story they did.    It is interested to here a story editor and a well known writer discuss the story you have heard.   On the down side, if the speaker reads at the normal rate of around 125 words a minute and you read much faster than that then you lose some reading time.    Of course you could place the stories on an Ipod or DVD and listen while you drive, for example.   

I will just make a few brief comments on each story.   I liked each one a lot and found the readings flawless.

"Where is the Voice Coming From" by Eudora Welty.     This story is told in the first person by a white man who killed a black civil rights worker in Mississippi in 1963.   It was inspired by the murder of Medgar Evans.  
Oates and the fiction editor both say this is the most brutal of any of Welty's stories.   This is only my 5th of her 41 stories but it is shockingly different from other works, in my experience.  I saw the world world through the eyes of the killer.    Some the language is shocking.   The sheer hatred of the killer comes through perfectly.   It is also a tale of class hatred.   It goes a long way toward understanding the roots of racism in America.    I see a Eudora Welty Reading Life Project coming soon!

"Conversations With My Father" by Grace Paley is about the obviously long running argument between an author and her very old very sick father.    The father, a retired doctor and artist, is deeply read in the 19th century short story and is harshly critical of his daughter's post modernist works.   He especially finds her use of magic realism a cheap trick.     I could tell the conversation had been going on for a long time.   The father very much respected his daughter's short stories, he simply wants to make them better.   His models are Chekhov and De Maupassant where hers are Mansfield and Woolf.    I found the conversations totally credible and felt the sadness coming for the narrator when they no are longer possible.   I hope to read more of Paley's short stories.

"Fat" and "Chef's House" have turned me into a Raymond Carver  fan.   "Fat" is just an amazing story about a waitress in a simple restaurant   serving the fattest man she has ever seen.    "Fat" is a study in minimalism so I will not say much on it other than to say it was really quite an amazing story.   I know that his long time editor, Gordon Lish, very heavily edited Carver's work and would routinely cut 40 percent from his stories.   He even changed the names of some of Carver's characters.   "Chef's House" centers on recovery (sort of!) alcoholics.  Evidently much of Carver's work centers on the effects of heavy drinking on people's lives.  My post reading research indicated Carver was an alcoholic for many years.    The collected short stories of Carver come to about 900 pages.   I can see in perhaps next year a Raymond Carver project.

Podcasts are fun, they are painless, on the down side they are slower than reading.     I will be listening to more of them for sure, including at least two for Irish Short Story Week. 

"I hope to see you next week for Irish Short Story Week-3/14 to 3/20"-Rory

Mel u


JoAnn said...

Thanks for the links... I'll have to try a short story podcast!

Marg said...

I have become a big fan of podcasts over the last few months, and I am always glad to find more, so thanks for the links.

The Guardian sometimes has short stories or extracts too. I posted about a few a while ago here

Marg said...

Never mind! A couple of your links were to the Guardian!