Feb 21 • 4M


Duty-Free Redemption | Alphabet Audio Soup

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Listen to the author read his stories in a strange foreign accent
Episode details
Illustration by Mia Funk
When I finish writing a story, the first thing I do is read it out loud to myself. These readings can be very frustrating and disheartening when none of the lines really fit together and something about the plot is clunky. But once in a while, there’s a story that works on the first draft, and then, when I read it, not only the story but my reading itself sounds perfectly accurate, as if I were no less than Sir Laurence Olivier delivering Hamlet’s soliloquy at the Old Vic. I had this experience with “Mystique,” and for several months it was my favorite story to read at events. But then, a decade ago, I heard Willem Dafoe read it for the audiobook version of Suddenly, a Knock on the Door, and I realized that in fact it could sound completely different. Dafoe’s reading was so much better than mine that I stopped reading the story live for almost a decade. But now, in honor of the newsletter, I’ve got my courage back.

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Story translated by Miriam Shlesinger
Intro translated by Jessica Cohen