Lynn Freed Reads "Ma, A Memoir"

Stories about mothers can be cloying or whiny, but Lynn Freed's "Ma, A Memoir" is neither. Told from the point of view of a middle-aged daughter of drama-prone parents, this story mixes calm assessment with tart affection. Its themes of marriage, love, illness, and egoism circulate among the three characters in dialogue that is both realistic and artful.  Just like Cheever's "Reunion," Freed's "Ma, A Memoir" creates a poignant filial history in less time than it takes most people to consume a cocktail or a cup of tea. Sip and listen!

A Tale With Two Recordings
Narrative Magazine offers a 6-minute recording of Freed reading her own story online here (free registration is required to access Narrative's site; the audio is not downloadable regardless). As of this posting, PRI: Selected Shorts also includes a recording of Marian Seldes reading "Ma, A Memoir" on iTunes, at the end of a 4-story episode called "Family Relations" (Freed's story begins at Minute 48:30).  If you want the Seldes recording, you should download it now; the PRI Selected Shorts episodes expire after about a month for copyright reasons.

The text of "Ma, A Memoir" is included in Freed's collection, The Curse of the Appropriate Man, and it's also stored on The New Yorker's archive (for subscribers only).