This week’s Sunday Rumpus essay is the Rumpus debut of one of my longtime personal favorite writers — and I say that with all proud claims to bias, because I also was, for a spell, her editor. Back in the 2000s Liz Tamny was the photo editor at the Chicago Reader, where I was an editor, but besides having a crack eye for artwork, she surprised me by being an amazingly probing, witty, and rigorous essayist and cultural critic. Whenever Liz told me she was working on something, I pricked up my ears because I knew that whatever she would deliver (usually dragging yards and yards of research behind her) would be gold.
So if, like me, your soul has been scraped raw by the current news cycle and you seek some good, timeless writing as a tonic, consider a trip through some of Liz’s back catalog. For example, this counterintuitive defense of Chicago restaurant empire Lettuce Entertain You, or this deep, thoughtful dive into the challenges M.F.K. Fisher posed for her biographer. They’re long, but like all fine essays, they offer careful readers surprising rewards. You won’t be sorry.