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"The Ledge"

Just Listen Podcast

Today’s story, “The Ledge” by Lawrence Sargent Hall,  won first place in the 1960 O. Henry Prize Collection, and has appeared in more than 30 anthologies.  Based on actual events and initially rejected by Esquire and The New Yorker, the story was selected by editor John Updike as one of the best short stories of the 20th century.  Hall’s novel Stowaway received the 1962 William Faulkner Award for best debut novel. Hall also contributed to several journals, including The Hudson Review.

In 1941, Hall received his Ph.D. in English from Yale University. He taught at several educational institutions, including Deerfield Academy and Yale.  From 1946 to 1986, he taught English at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.  In 1956, he was a Carnegie visiting professor at Columbia University.  From 1964, he was chairman of the Bowdoin Department of English. In 1986, he retired as Henry Leland Chapman Professor.  He was an active advocate of the arts in Maine throughout his lifetime, and he died in 1993.

Today’s story—raw and cold and heartily masculine—follows the Christmas Day misadventures of a protagonist we know only as “the fisherman,” whose promise of a day’s shooting for his son and nephew is fulfilled in a brazen attempt to wrest from the hand of nature more than is enough, and, in fact, too much.

And now, “The Ledge” by Lawrence Sargent Hall…we begin….