Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Benjamin Chambers writes:

On the eve of the release of The New Yorker’s fiction issue, it seems like the right time to mention (again) how amazing the magazine’s fiction podcasts are. Back in January, I reviewed the 2008 podcasts and even threw in a plug for this year’s reading by Thomas McGuane of James Salter’s chilling story, “Last Night.”

Now there’s three more treats waiting for the unwary:
  • First, there’s Joyce Carol Oates reading Eudora Welty’s searing “Where Is that Voice Coming From?” from the July 6, 1963 issue. To my mind, Oates’ Yankee accent can’t do Welty justice, but the narrative’s acid power still leaks through. If it drives listeners to read the story on their own, then the podcast will have done its job.

  • I’ve not read much Isaac Bashevis Singer, so it was a special treat to hear Nathan Englander read Singer’s “Disguised,” from the September 22, 1986 issue, about a woman who searches for the man who inexplicably abandoned her only to find he’s taken up an unthinkable new life without her. A marvel of economy, the story’s simply delightful, and Englander’s reading enhances it.

  • After a great performance last September reading Stephanie Vaughn’s “Dog Heaven” from January 1989, Tobias Wolff returned to read another classic (albeit better-known): “Emergency,” by Denis Johnson, first published in the magazine on September 16, 1991 and later collected in Johnson’s book Jesus’ Son.

Bottom line: you can’t go wrong with any of these. Go forth and listen!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree