Selected Shorts: New American Stories

Overview

A diverse selection of stories of contemporary American life and dreams lost and then found, this audio CD from the acclaimed Selected Shorts series features works from four of today’s most talented authors: Sherman Alexie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Aleksandar Hemon, and Jhumpa Lahiri. A robbery and its dramatic consequences lead a Spokane Indian to rethink his entire life in Alexie’s "Breaking and Entering," dynamically performed by B. D. Wong. A young Nigerian woman tackles adventure by taking a Greyhound bus ...

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Overview

A diverse selection of stories of contemporary American life and dreams lost and then found, this audio CD from the acclaimed Selected Shorts series features works from four of today’s most talented authors: Sherman Alexie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Aleksandar Hemon, and Jhumpa Lahiri. A robbery and its dramatic consequences lead a Spokane Indian to rethink his entire life in Alexie’s "Breaking and Entering," dynamically performed by B. D. Wong. A young Nigerian woman tackles adventure by taking a Greyhound bus to the end of the line and starting a new life in Hartford in Adichie’s longing-filled story "The Thing Around Your Neck," performed by Condola Rashad. Tony winner Boyd Gaines performs Hemon’s heartfelt tale "Good Living," in which a Bosnian emigrant seeks the American dream while selling magazines door to door in Chicago. Lastly, Rita Wolf gives a breathtaking performance of "Hell-Heaven," Lahiri’s story of passions and tensions in a Bengali family in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from her acclaimed collection Unaccustomed Earth. This CD is sure to delight listeners while providing an opportunity for artists and audiences to connect.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
In Adichie’s “The Thing Around Your Neck,” a young Nigerian immigrant is both adored and objectified by her white boyfriend. Condola Rashad’s narration gives the story energy, but her American accent fails to convey the narrator’s Igbo cadences. In Lahiri’s “Hell-Heaven,” the daughter of Bengali immigrants witnesses her mother’s tormented infatuation with a young Calcutta bachelor who marries an American woman. Narrator Rita Wolf captures the hesitant English of the narrator’s Bengali parents, but uses an inappropriate British accent for the American-born child. In B.D. Wong’s rendition of Alexie’s “Breaking and Entering,” a Spokane Native American is enraged when the television news mistakenly identifies him as white after he kills a black intruder. Although Wong delivers a fine reading, his performance (and that of Boyd Gaines in Hemon’s “Good Living”) is marred by the fluctuating volume of the production—each story was recorded live at Symphony Space in New York City—which is often too loud for listeners to bear. (Oct.)
Library Journal
08/01/2014
Stories by Aleksandar Hemon, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Sherman Alexie are performed live in front of an audience by professional actors.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sherman Alexie is a nationally known National Book Award–winning author, poet, and filmmaker. His work includes The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and the short story collection War Dances, for which he won the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He lives in Seattle. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Purple Hibiscus, and the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. She lives in Boston. Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project; Love and Obstacles; Nowhere Man, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and The Question of Bruno. He lives in Chicago. Jhumpa Lahiri is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and the author of the novel The Namesake and the story collections Unaccustomed Earth and Interpreter of Maladies, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Symphony Space is a performing arts center based in New York City that fosters artistically and culturally diverse performing arts, literary, and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in an atmosphere of exploration and intimacy.

Biography

Award-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri has spent most of her life traveling between countries. Born in London and raised in Rhode Island, she visited Calcutta regularly with her family, often for months at a time. Neither a tourist nor a native, her ties to India are as strong as her ties to the U.S. This feeling of free-floating between cultures, plus her experience growing up in an immigrant household, permeates her characters, settings, and themes.

A serious student, Lahiri excelled at school. As a child, she wrote endlessly in notebooks and reported for her school newspaper, but she did not seriously begin writing fiction until after graduation from Barnard College. She went on to receive three Master's degrees and a PhD, all from Boston University, but had no real interest in academics. She managed to get a few stories published and was eventually accepted to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown -- which put her on the road to finding an agent and selling her first book, a collection of short fiction cryptically entitled Interpreter of Maladies.

When Interpreter of Maladies hit the bookshelves in 1999, readers and critics fell in love with Lahiri's luminous prose and fully realized characters. Moving dexterously between first- and third-person narration and unfolding from the perspectives of both men and women, the nine stories in the anthology showcase Lahiri's flexibility as a writer. She navigates the emotional terrain between two cultures, Indian and American, with grace and deftness; and although she sets her tales in both countries, India always resonates in the hearts of her characters, no matter where they live. In 2000, Lahiri received the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Fiction -- an honor rarely bestowed on a first-time author.

In 2003, Lahiri published her debut novel. The story of a first-generation Bengali-American boy and his family, The Namesake became an international bestseller. The New York Times named it a Notable Book of the Year; several publications included it in their annual roundups of best reads; and in 2007, Indian-born director Mira Nair turned it into a critically acclaimed feature film.

Jhumpa Lahiri continues to explore both sides of the cultural divide with passion, clarity, and elegance. Writing in her unique voice, she brings into focus the grey areas of life, creating seamlessly crafted plots and three-dimensional characters that draw readers back again and again.

Good To Know

Like the rest of her family, Lahiri has a (private) "pet name" and a (public) "good name." When she started school, her teachers decided that Jhumpa, her pet name, was the easier one to pronounce, and she has been called that in public ever since, something many of her relatives find odd.

A major turning point for Lahiri's writing career came when she was accepted into the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Lahiri is married to journalist Alberto Vourvoulias, a Guatemalan of Greek ancestry. Their son, Octavio, is learning to speak English, Bengali, and Spanish.

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      1967
    2. Place of Birth:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College; M.A., Ph.D., Boston University

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