Selected Shorts: New American Stories

Jhumpa Lahiri, Author, Sherman Alexie, Author, Chimamand Ngozi Adichie, Author, Aleksandar Hemon, Author, Symphony Space, Compiled by
Jhumpa Lahiri, Sherman Alexie, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Aleksandar Hemon,
read by Condola Rashad, Boyd Gaines, B.D. Wong, and Rita Wolf. Selected Shorts, , unabridged, two CDs, 2 hrs., $19.95 ISBN 978-1-934033-15-9
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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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.)
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