Funny you ask, yes I can. I love going on a long run and listening to someone read and short story and then discuss. This week I heard three.
Richard Ford reading Raymond Carver’s “The Student’s Wife”. Pretty sad. OK very sad. The way Raymond Carver is sad. You can’t even get pleasure out of the artistry because it services the sadness.
Thomas McGuane reading “The Tree Line, Kansas, 1934,” by David Means. McGuane more enthusiastic about the story than I was. He reads it well, and I understanding the point. but the story feels (hears) more like an exercise than something authentic. Like a museum diorama. The craft more on display, compared with Carver.
David Gilbert reading “Leg,” by Steven Polansky. Any parent of a teenaged boy who is going through a certain period is going to feel an immediate resonance with this story. In fact, inside your head you’ll probably change the name of your child to Randy. Triesman and Gilbert have a nice discussion: from a super obvious metaphor you can keep drilling down until you can honestly decide you don’t really know just quite what you get out of the story. A feeling that can quite be fingered, a sense of ambiguity and mystery.
Michael, don’t you listen to fiction podcasts read by women? Yes I do, that these three were all men and male authors is purely coincidence.