Picks and Pans Review: The New Yorker Out Loud
This double album set contains short stories recently published in The New Yorker, read by various actors and, in some cases, the authors themselves. The best matchup is actress Frances McDormand (Fargo, Mississippi Burning, Lone Star) and "People Like That Are the Only People Here," a characteristically perceptive and poignant Lorrie Moore story in which a young mother tries to deal with the discovery that her baby has a malignant tumor.
But it is also engaging to hear John Updike read his own "New York Girl," about a Buffalo, N.Y., salesman's adulterous affair with a New York City divorcée. Ian McEwan reads his intriguing tale of a hot air balloon trip gone awry. And even the often mush-mouthed actor Gabriel Byrne (Miller's Crossing, The Usual Suspects) elocutes crisply while reading Seamus Deane's very Catholic, very Irish tale, "Maths Class." Although those who believe literature should be seen, not heard, will still prefer to eyeball the stories themselves, this album represents an interesting alternative, not to mention a good way of reading while driving or exercising. (Mercury)
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