Tonight while cooking dinner, I listened to the writer David Means read the Raymond Carver story, "Chef's House," which was his first the New Yorker ever published. Raymond Carver is great to hear out loud, because his dialogue is so fluent. And talk about an antidote to Franzen. Carver's midwest is a very different place than the one in Freedom, full of sadness and presented without analysis.
I love Deborah Treisman, the fiction editor, who also hosts the podcast. She seems so omniscient and is obviously revered by the writers she features. In the discussion that follows each reading, she always comes off as the teacher figure, asking questions you sense she knows the answer to, and sometimes it's fun to hear the writers get a little nervous or pretentious. She also always surprises me with the questions she asks. They can be a good resource for readers who want to know how to think about what they read. She always asks the writers to speculate about what happens to the characters after the story is finished.