The Listen Here! Short Story Reading Series rolls into its 11th week with readings at Bru Cafe, 141 Orange, Street, this Tuesday, May 18, 7 p.m. Our Theme? “Brothers”
Our Stories? Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible” and David Sedaris’s “You Can’t Kill the Rooster”
Louis Erdrich is one of our best-known Native American writers (she is part Ojibwa on her mother’s side) and is a prolific novelist. She’s also a helluva a short story writer, and “The Red Convertible” nicely illustrates this aspect of her storytelling talent. This tale addresses the impact of the Vietnam War--and the then emergent understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder--on the American Indian community of the early 1970s. The story originally appeared in Mississippi Valley Review in 1981 and was collected in Love Medicine in 1984. Its blend of pathos and pain are a reminder of the terrible price of war paid by the families who stay behind.
David Sedaris became universally known for his display of caustic wit on This American Life with his reading of the “Santaland Diaries.” But “You Can’t Kill the Rooster” is equally one of the funniest stories he has ever written, with the added blessing of being probably the most vulgar that Listen Here! has presented to date. (In other words, you ain’t gonna ever hear this one on NPR!) We found this in the edited collection Brothers, put together by New Haven Review subscriber Andrew Blauner, a really wonderful collection of stories on just that topic.