The Voice Within The New Yorker Podcast

The reading of Vladimir Nabokov’s “Symbols and Signs” by Mary Gaitskill was dull and watery. The narrator’s rendition of the story, which was originally posted in May of 1948, took away from the depth of the story. From the first words of Gaitskill’s delivery of the story, her bland and colourless voice is heard. Her tone seems more appropriate and fitting to be heard within Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride then reading a short story in a podcast (see audio below). It is suggested that her tone was deliberate, to add a sense of uncomfortableness to emphasize the simple and discreet story, however the reading was lacking any sense of this.


Podcasts come in a variety of forms, but they all need to have one thing in common in order to be successful: an appropriate and attractive voice for listeners. Without an appealing voice, listeners could become easily disinterested, and it would be difficult to have people returning for future episodes. The New Yorker does not always have the same people on their podcasts however, so the issue of unfavourable voices is not as much of an issue. The host of the podcast, Deborah Treisman tends to take a step back during discussions, letting the guest take over much of the time.

The episode with Mary Gaitskill is a perfect example of how a less than favourable guest can distract from the piece of literature that is being talked about. Too much attention goes to the person talking and not towards what they are talking about.

“Mary Gaitskill reads Vladimir Nabokov.” The New Yorker, Condé Nast Publication, 2 June 2008. Accessed 16 Feb. 2017
UXID “Madame Leota (Complete Audio Loop).” Online video clip, Youtube,  13 Feb. 2016. Accessed 15 Feb. 2017.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s