March 2nd, 2015
Episode 198 of 228 episodes
On this month’s fiction podcast, Etgar Keret reads “Chablis,” by Donald Barthelme, which was published in The New Yorker in 1983. The story, which occupied a single page in the magazine, is a man’s anxious internal monologue about his wife, their young child, and his place within the family. “My wife wants a dog,” the story begins. “She already has a baby. The baby’s almost two. My wife says that the baby wants the dog.” Reading Barthelme’s stories aloud is particularly pleasurable, Keret says, because of Barthelme’s emphasis on voice. It creates “the illusion that if you just pick out the right voice” to read the words, then “the story will also become a little bit your story.” In conversation with the magazine’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, Keret also discusses the conflicting emotions of Barthelme’s narrator and explains how writing a short story is like surfing.