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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 March 2014

John McCarthy considers the complexities in giving and receiving gifts.

As he shops for a present for a relation he hasn't seen for a while, John reflects on the dance of gifting. He explores ways in which gifts can create unanticipated jealousies. They can so often reflect the taste of the giver rather than the recipient and sometimes giving can be manipulative.

The shopping trip brings back memories of a surprise gift John's father once brought home from a business trip, and he remembers his nephew's intense disappointment at not getting the present he wished for from his grandmother. All of which raises the knotty subject of how to receive a gift graciously.

The programme includes readings from works by EM Forster, Eva Ibbotson, Kim Addonizio and Brian Patten. And there's music by Wagner, Chris Wood, Jim Croce and Cesar Franck.

Readers: Rachel Atkins and Fraser James

Produced by Rosie Boulton
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

Music Played

12 items
  • Readings

    • Howards End by E.M Forster

      Reading: Howards End Published by: Peters Fraser Dunlop

    • One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

      Published by: Marion Lloyd Books ISBN-13: 978-1407124247

    • What Do Women Want? - Kim Addonizio

      Collection: Tell Me Published by: BOA Editions Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1880238912

    • Good Gifts - Dorothy Nimmo

      Collection: The Wig Box – New and Selected Poems ISBN-13: 978-1902382241

    • Gift - Tamim al-Barghouti

      Translation: Radwa Ashour

    • A Blade of Grass - Brian Patten

      Collection: Love Poems Published by: Harper Collins ISBN-13: 978-0007246496

  • Music


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