Yesterday, I stumbled upon a gem, The New Yorker Fiction podcast. Today, I will write about it but let me tell you a story before.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a runner’s knee. Despite being unfamiliar with the illness, it was akin to the tennis elbow illness, and I could make an educated guess.
It became evident that my jogging days were coming to an end.
Although I joined a gym to fortify my leg muscles to alleviate the knee, I couldn’t run for more than two days without pain.
Eventually, I gave up and sought out an alternative aerobic exercise. Since one of my favorite hobbies is strolling the city in a pure flaneur style, it was easy to designate my meandering as a mandatory one-hour daily routine.
Initially, my walks were leisurely and serendipitous. I went wherever my feet took me while my mind speculated about the lives of those I encountered.
However, nothing lasts indefinitely. In time, I grew tired of myself (and my feet) and looked for alternative sources to stimulate my intellect.
It is where podcasts entered the scene, revealing a fascinating realm before my ears.
Thus, I began listening to daily news, current events, and Spanish blockbusters. Gradually, I became more daring while seeking an additional incentive for the endeavor. Why not kill two birds with a stone and revive my rusty English while maintaining a healthy pace?
I rediscovered some “old friends” I listened to many years ago while commuting to work, such as Planet Money. This wonder connects mundane events to the economy. It is a kind of “economy after the things”.
A similar podcast is Freakonomics Radio, hosted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics book, who simplifies complex economic ideas in a straightforward style, replete with humorous anecdotes and examples. In short, a must listen to understand how the world works.
Finally, The New Yorker made its entrance!
I was searching for alternative English language sources and discovered The New Yorker radio. I already follow this magazine on Instagram for its covers and wit cartoons, and I learned there is an audible version of the articles. Therefore, looking for them in my Google podcast application, I found Fiction.
The New Yorker Fiction, hosted by Deborah Treisman, the publication’s fiction editor, invites other authors to read stories from the magazine aloud and engage in a dialogue about them afterward. In summary, it is a radio book club.
My initiation to the podcast was with “Come into the drawing room, Doris” by Edna O’Brien and read by Rachel Kushner.
Rachel was attracted to the story because O’Brian is one of The New Yorker’s most prolific writers, and due to the evolution, she observed, between the initial version of the story, published in 1962, and its subsequent appearance as the ‘Irish revel’ in The Love Object collection.
We listen to the original story, though later, Kushner points out some of the differences with the “Irish revel.”
“Come into the drawing room, Doris” recounts one event in the life of an Irish country girl in the mid-20th century when she attends her first party in the bliss of meeting her first unrequited love and finds her aspirations dashed and her innocence lost.
My conclusion is the story interweaves individuals and their yearnings with the context in which they live, innocent and pure in the rural landscape and coarser in the town.
Nevertheless, I recommend listening to the podcast and reading the short story to form your opinion.
As for me, now I have my new radio book club that I will inaugurate by reading more of Edna O’Brien. The country girls trilogy was already on my wish list, and maybe, it’s time to reread Madame Bovary by Auguste Flaubert. Will you miss the podcast to know why?