LITERATURE

Burdens by Water: An Unintended Memoir

Brown Paper Pr. 2016. 214p. ISBN 9781941932049. pap. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9781941932056. MEMOIR
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This collection of mostly personal essays by short-story author Rifkin (Signal Hill) focuses primarily on his life in and around California's San Fernando Valley. Three pieces in particular stand out. "Pool Man" chronicles, with humor and pathos, the author's adventures trailing after a Southern California pool man. "Consider the Richardsons" compares his own attempt (despite being Jewish) at living a Bible-based Christian marriage with the marriage of an evangelical pastor acquaintance of his. It is a funny and touching essay. Finally, the elegiac "E Luxo So (It's Only Luxury)" details growing up in Encino, CA, in the wake of his parents' divorce. The rest of the collection is equally engaging, but these three pieces are excellent examples of the craft.
VERDICT An original and funny/sad compilation of writings that will appeal to a wide readership.

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