Weekend Rumpus Roundup


First, Barbara Berman reviews Stanford academic and author Eavan Boland’s poetry collection, A Woman Without A Country, a rumination on Irish American identity, motherhood, and “literary citizenship.” Boland’s “straightforward brilliance” make this a collection worth reading.

Then, in a funny and insightful Saturday Essay, Sharon Harrigan analyzes the stereotype of the evil stepdad and finds a complicated and much-maligned role in the modern family. Tobias Wolff’s memoir This Boy’s Life; and Richard Linklater’s epic film Boyhood; help to define the terrain surrounding stepfatherhood on a weekend when the country collectively celebrates regular old fatherhood.

Meanwhile, in a review of Ann Morgan’s The World Between Two Covers, Elizabeth Silver points out the surprising success of the author’s blog-turned-“standalone work of important literature.” Morgan’s journey to read a book from every country in the world as recorded first on her blog, then in the bookrepresents “a fascinating analysis of what literature actually means.”

Finally, in the Sunday Essay, Ben Tanzer’s younger brother suffers a bad fall in a nerve-wracking story of New Year’s Eve, 1980. Instead of staying to tend to his brother’s wound, Tanzer runs out into the street to find his parents. The guilt and “hubris” of this reaction lingers on, informing his present-day identity as a parent and a writer.

Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte, tNY.press, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program. More from this author →