This American Life: Stories of Hope and Fear

This American Life: Stories of Hope and Fear


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This American Life: Stories of Hope and Fear

This two-CD set presents 11 stories originally heard on the popular syndicated public radio show This American Life. If you're familiar with the program, you'll know what to expect here to some degree: diverse, often eccentric, often real-life tales, laid over whimsical pieces of music and sound effects used for accentuation and contrast. Even within the fairly limited space of an 11-story set (which does cover a good two hours and 20 minutes or so), however, it's impossible to generalize about what's on offer here. Just three of these are pieces in which someone is interviewed by show host Ira Glass, which might be the format for which the program is most known. In others, the protagonists themselves tell their stories; in one, a woman reads from a notebook she kept as a 13-year-old; in another, a list of "Fears of Your Life" is read by someone other than the writer; and the narrative by David Sedaris, the most celebrated figure whose voice is heard on these discs, is an obviously fictional (and somewhat cutesy) tale, "So a Chipmunk and a Squirrel Walk into a Bar." The stories themselves cover an extremely wide territory: a failed attempt to do standup "karaoke" comedy, a first-person account of the effects of changing gender from female to male, a recollection of a retarded sibling, and (the most amusing track) a play-by-play recount of a horrifying months-long dispute over a phone company bill. Wry humor might be the grace note most often sounded, but there's also hardship without pathos, complicated ambiguous familial tension and affection, and self-discovery both embarrassed and humble. The separation of the contents into a "Hope" disc and a "Fear" disc is fairly arbitrary, given how those emotions (and others) usually overlap within the stories. Depending on your inclinations, some stories will strike stronger chords than others. But these are strong, representative examples of what this long-running show has become known for in its lengthy stint on the airwaves.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/07/2006
Label: Shout Factory
UPC: 0826663101515
catalogNumber: 10151

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Philip Glass   Track Performer
Carly Simon   Track Performer
Evan Lurie   Track Performer
Ben Webster   Track Performer
Erwin Helfer   Track Performer
Galt MacDermot   Track Performer
Tom Zé   Track Performer
John Lurie   Track Performer
Thurston Moore   Track Performer
RZA   Track Performer
Rick Rizzo   Track Performer
Gustavo Santaolalla   Track Performer
Tara Key   Track Performer
Blonde Redhead   Track Performer
Caleb Sampson   Track Performer
Bobby Johnston   Track Performer
Ida   Track Performer
Mayfair Recordings   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Dolores Wilber   Producer
Ira Glass   Producer,Liner Notes
Emily Johnson   Artwork
Divya Srinivasan   Illustrations
Jeff Palo   Producer
Diane Cook   Producer
Blue Chevigny   Producer
Peter Clowney   Producer
Wendy Dorr   Producer
Jane Feltes   Producer
Starlee Kine   Producer
Sarah Koenig   Producer
Amy OLeary   Producer
Lisa Pollak   Producer
Julie Snyder   Producer
Alix Spiegel   Producer
Nancy Updike   Producer

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