The New Yorker Fiction Podcast tasks a writer formerly published in the magazine with selecting and reading a work by one of his or her peers, afterwards discussing it in-depth with host Deborah Treisman. For earnest readers and writers alike, it is an indispensable store of scintillating artists, their ideas, and their contemporaries’ responses to those ideas. Treisman facilitates these readings, their preamble where necessary (or interesting), and said reflections, while extrapolating just as much insight from the stories, all credit to her, as the guests.
Below I’ve included several of my favourites featured on the podcast; some of which, such as “Reunion”, “Emergency” and “Chicxulub”, have introduced me to voices I now couldn’t live without. Whether or not you’re a writer, nevermind one with ambitions towards this level of fiction yourself, this podcast will enrich your perspective on the world—monthly.
I haven’t bothered to annotate these links with my own thoughts because the stories speak for themselves, certainly better than I ever could for them, and because they are best met blind besides. (With a little help from Treisman and guests.) If they do for you what they’ve done for me, you won’t need sight to be struck by what they reveal—whether that something is unprecedented to you, or just knowing in a way you haven’t previously known it.
John Cheever’s “Reunion”, read by Richard Ford
Alice Munro’s “Axis”, read by Lauren Groff
Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”, read by T. C. Boyle
James Thurber’s “The Wood Duck”, read by Jonathan Lethem
George Saunders’ “Adams”, read by Joshua Ferris
Jamaica Kincaid’s “Figures in the Distance”, read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Denis Johnson’s “Emergency”, read by Tobias Wolff
Joshua Ferris’ “The Dinner Party”, read by Monica Ali
T.C Boyle’s “Chicxulub”, read by Lionel Shriver
Vladimir Nabokov’s “Symbols and Signs”, read by Mary Gaitskill
You can listen to The New Yorker FictionPodcast with Deborah Treisman directly on The New Yorker’s website, or subscribe to it on iTunes.