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understand how or whyhe feU in love with Kay while engaged to his longtime companion, Vanessa. Silently he admits that he has no answers and, in a sense, no control over desire: "He would love one woman for a few years like he had Vanessa tiU things got a little regular, then another woman like Kay would appear and he'd fall in love with her, and even if he never actuaUy feU in love with any woman ever again, he was pretty sure he wouldn't be able to say no to the occasional temptation." As Kay ascends into transcendent euphoria, Benjamin descends into agonizing angst, unable to reconcile Kay's unfettered love with his own sense of unworthiness: "Here he was in a glowing bedroom . . . with a woman whom he'd not exactly honored who was, for some reason beyond him, treating him lovingly. He couldn't for the life of him imagine why she was doing that." Like Benjamin,Folly's Lilian descends into quiet despair, but not for the same self-loathing reasons. Rather, when the man she pines for does not live up to her romantic illusions, Lilian is unable to accept the harsh realities of love and desire. As Folly closes, Lilian is consumed with suffocating resignation. In contrast, Kay,inRaptureaccommodates love's mercurial nature, and finds herself immersed in a sublime state of rich, empowering grace. (LW) Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism by Lillian Ross Counterpoint, 2002, 289 pp., $25 For more than fifty years, Lülian Ross has been a staff writer and reporter for The New Yorker, where her contributions to the magazine's "Talk of the Town" segment and lengthier pieces, such as the celebrated and controversial "Portrait of Hemingway," originated a new kind of journalism, the literary profile: factual short stories of the prominent and obscure, imbued with humanity, intelligence and wit. In her twelfth book, Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism, Ross revisits twenty-six of her "journalistic stories," excerpting memorable profiles (all but one taken from The New Yorker) that include five presidents , numerous cultural icons and a handful of ordinary people whose stories will continue to move you long after you've finished reading them. In her introduction to the book, a foUow-up to Reporting (1964), Ross promises a "focus on what journalistic stories can be in themselves; where the material for them may be found; and how they may be written with clarity and humor." Readers looking for an exhaustive tutorial on intimate journalism wUl not find it here. Although there is a sprinkling of pithy pronouncements on many aspects of reporting—from finding the story ("One's own interests, if mined alertly, can be productive") to the use of tape recorders ("Literal reality rarely rings true") to the importance of humor ("There is always truth in humor")—the author's keenest insights are implicit in her selection of absorbing profiles. The profiles are not presented chronologicaUy. Instead, we ricochet between decades, tasting the sheer variety of contacts that Ross has been privileged to sample inherlong career. She begins with a piece from 1995, about a New York State assemblyman 208 · The Missouri Review who cosponsored the state's death penalty bill, and ends with scenes from recentprofiles ofmovie mogul Harvey Weinstein, director Wes Anderson and famed jeweler Yves Piaget. We're there as the assemblyman serenades his constituents at a spaghetti fund-raiser, when Weinstein accepts a medal at the French Consulate (then punts the evening 's festivities to attend a screening of Chocolat) and when Piaget hosts a dinner party for guests bejeweled in everything but Piaget. In between we meet, among others, John Huston and Humphrey Bogart discussing communism over lunch; Bill Clinton confessing his ignorance of the trifecta at a book signing in George Plimpton's Manhattan apartment; Pee Wee RusseU being presented to the Argentine Ambassador at the first Newport Jazz Festival; well-heeled ladies letting their hair down at a San Diego spa; and Jerry Stiller squirming his way through a Friar's Club Roast. "If I find it interesting to write," Ross explains with trademark succinctness , "I naturally assume the reader will find it interesting to read." And...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 208-209
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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