The Atavist has been killing it lately. Last month, I was riveted by Joshuah Bearman's outrageous (and completely true) story of one Brit's attempt to bring a "Baghdad Country Club" to the city's Green Zone. This month, "Mother, Stranger," Cris Beam's account of her abusive mother--a distant relative of William Faulkner--had me on the verge of tears.
"When she got to a passage in the book about a 'slump,' she looked at the children and said, 'So sometimes you don’t feel good, right? But then – what do you do?' The children waited." Via Slate's Katy Waldman, a look at the world's greatest pool report.
"It soon emerged that there is a uniquely British brand of feeling, a blend of distress and composure marked by a touching compulsion to keep up appearances in the face of interpersonal dissolution. For all its prevalence and subtlety, this mode of engagement is difficult for the uninitiated to decipher or even to discern, and I would have remained oblivious of it if not for the works of Dame Iris Murdoch, a connoisseur of British emotional life in all its baffling permutations." On Iris Murdoch and the British brand of distress and composure.