#mommyblogging with Ferrante

I raced through the final Neapolitan novel, as forewarned, guided by the suspicion that there is no Lila Cerullo.


  • Lila and Elena are so thoroughly twinned
  • Ferrante’s deftness with a style many have tried to name and I’ll try calling “hallucinatory realism,” ie the portrayal of the hallucinatory state as fully enveloped in the real, is well known
  • And Lila is so extremely Large and In Charge as to have exceeded the bounds of the human

that Lila makes the most sense as Elena’s fantasy other self. Not as a functioning, psychologically realistic, humanlike character. Rachel Cusk also said this.

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I’m Baaaaaaaaack

My Munro article is in the can, y’all, and here are the things Imonna do now:

  • Read the fourth Neapolitan novel
  • Write a long think piece about my mixed feelings about Hillary Cl– oh wait Rebecca Traister locked it down already
  • Negotiate at least three cease fires
  • Clean out my car
    • which farts trash every time I open its door
  • Purchase and assemble a standing desk so I can finally be vaguely smug like the toe shoe people
  • Resist calculating the hourly rate of my contract to write an Alice Munro article for a lump sum, thus maturely strolling past the rabbit hole of post-academic rage about labor equity social value of humanities knowledge should I really have quit academia etc etc without even a cursory glance back into said hole wait too late daaaaaaaaaaaaaang
  • Relish having weekends back again again
  • Acknowledge getting paid in love, still, in my current child health policy gig too, is better than getting paid in hate but still not as good as getting paid in adequate dollars
  • Drink beer
  • Read all the reviews of Purity so I can maintain my opinion of Franzen without having to read more than the New Yorker excerpt through which I couldn’t hack the slog
  • Drink wine
    • Cuz Wine is Fine
  • Blog more again
    • For reals
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Mini Reviewlets: Munro Immersion

The blog has been more fallow than its usual don’t-call-it-climate-change-it’s-just-fallow state because I’m working on a long term writing project. On Alice Munro.

For money.

I haven’t been paid for my writing since we thought our computers would snap us back to the Iron Age. That dark millennial moment I took a “break” from  journalism to “get smarter” in grad school.

And on Alice Munro? Even cooler than the fluff piece I wrote back then on the Stanford Linear Accelerator. Which is to say: quantum cool.

So here’s a teaser of Munroviana to tide us over.

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On Competence (TfH Watches TV 2)

Mad Men went out with a wimper.

Wherefore this wimper?

Partly the hubris of spreading a single season over two years. Partly the series’s obsession with a tired Freudian narrative of an otherwise great man whose dead whore mom got stuck to his Achilles heel.

But partly the loss of Don’s competence. With no other competence to make up for it besides cruelly (used and then) underused Joan Holloway Harris.

Mad Men got less compelling around when Don stopped showing us how great an adman he was. And it never even bothered showing us the boldly designed steam off Peggy’s hot Googie shit.

Professional competence. Our new fantasy.

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Book Revewlets: Girls! Girls! Girls!

The Semplica Girl Diaries,” y’all.

One of the best short stories I’ve ever read. Anywhere. Anyhow.

George Saunders quadruple dog dared “The Gift of the Magi,” plunking it into the suburbs, replacing romantic love with parental love, wringing such pathos out of the ghastliest aspects of late capitalism.

And the story absolutely gets girls. Spoilers ahoy.

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Book Reviewlets: Girl in a Band, by Kim Gordon

Kim Gordon confirmed my adolescent suspicions that society shakes down into strata of cool. And that the people I love most not only occupy the same social latitude. They’re also all best friends.

Mixing drinks, sharing babysitters, dating each other before hardening and wizening into the wrinkle years.

Kim Gordon dated Danny Elfman, y’all. In high school.

And she’s best friends now with Carrie Brownstein and Amy Poehler?!

Thus the rusty gears of the universe click into nearly Renaissance degrees of harmony.

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