Posts by: Ben Pfeiffer


The Rumpus Interview with Richard Ford


Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Richard Ford discusses his new book, Let Me Be Frank With You, how metaphor shapes our world, and why he doesn't like the idea he has a battery to recharge. ...more

Wise Men

“Wise Men,” by Stuart Nadler


In a certain kind of story, characters reflect and explore the financial world outside their narrative. A population left destitute by the American Civil War, for example, found hope in 1867 when Horatio Alger published Ragged Dick, a myth promising that honesty and hard work could take you from the poverty of a bootblack to the slightly less soul-crushing poverty of the lower-middle class.


The Rainbow Troops

“The Rainbow Troops,” by Andrea Hirata


Hirata’s romantic style, combined with attendant detail, form a controlled, cohesive vision. His passion for education and his criticism of the corporate state are tempered by humor and context, and structured around a framework of specifics: Ikal’s school, friends, and teachers. Whatever you call it—novel, memoir—The Rainbow Troops provides plenty of heartfelt prose for readers inclined to cultural tourism, and for those who find themselves missing the tiny, ramshackle village school, Hirata has written three sequels to Laskar Pelangi, books that might someday find their way to English-speaking readers. ...more



The Watery Part of the World, by Michael Parker


Michael Parker’s The Watery Part of the World opens two-hundred years ago on the shores of Nag’s Head, North Carolina, a sandbank notorious for pirates who once lured ships onto the shoals for the usual rape-and-plunder reasons. Such an attack has just taken place as the book begins, and this time the lone survivor is Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of U.S.