Katherine Hill

  • culture August 31, 2009

    Dreaming in Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich

    Midway through Katherine Russell Rich’s year of learning Hindi in India, she takes a holiday with a fellow New Yorker whose direct manner of speaking unnerves her. “In a place swathed in veils—veiled references, displays, emotions, half the women—directness was shocking,” Rich writes in Dreaming in Hindi, her memoir of that tumultuous year. In recounting her education, she is regularly amazed at the ways second-language acquisition can change a person: cognitively, psychologically, socially. Things that once seemed familiar, like New York speech patterns, become strange; things once strange

  • Happy Trails to You

    Julie Hecht’s hilarious, neurotic narrator has been complaining about modern life since 1989, first in the pages of the New Yorker and then in two volumes of fiction, Do the Windows Open? (1997) and The Unprofessionals (2003). A photographer who splits her time between New York and Massachusetts, Hecht’s unnamed baby boomer spends the leisure-loving ’90s panicking over Long Island traffic, stuffy rooms, an optician she believes is a Nazi, the embroidered Ralph Lauren polo player, and people who eat meat. Though she faces some genuine sadness—reproductive problems and the loneliness of extreme