Hannah Gersen

reviewed by Kelly Fordon

December 3, 2016

Gersen is great at capturing the nuances of family life and the conflicting emotions of well-meaning people trying to do right by those closest to them. 

September 25, 2013


We show up at Mayflower Beach at ten one August morning, and the parking attendant, a tanned teenaged girl in a gold tee shirt, tells us we’re too late, the lot is full. To ensure a spot, it’s best to come around 8:00 a.m., or even earlier.

Photo by Barry Yanowitz

April 29, 2013

Slate has a new travel blog celebrating strange and beautiful places around the world. Recent entries include a tunnel of flowers, a theater that has been remodeled into a bookstore, and a movie theater that floats in a lagoon.

Speaking of mysterious places, Stonehenge is seeking a general manager. Details at The Atlantic.

Photo by Warrne Brown Photography, from Flickr Creative Commons

March 4, 2013

Photo by Warrne Brown Photography, from Flickr Creative Commons

This time of year, I’m always hoping for one last snowstorm or cold snap. I love winter, and am always sad to see it go. To give the season a proper goodbye, these links celebrate all things cold things cold and snowy:

At Brevity, Amy Butcher reflects on ice skating.

At The New York Review of Books, Ian Frazier reviews a new anthology of writing about the Arctic.

Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Wapster

February 4, 2013

Last weekend I stopped by Film Biz Recycling, a thrift store that sells props previously used on the sets of TV shows, movies, and plays. It’s a place I’ve been curious about for years, having heard of vintage treasures to be found amidst its workaday prop items. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and upon entering was somewhat jarred by the hodge-podge of items, arranged with no particular logic. A toy piano stood next to a stodgy-looking coffee table, which sat beneath a shelf of Cuban cigar boxes and a framed copy of the rules of the board game “The Game of Life”.

September 25, 2013

Hannah Gersen's fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Granta Online, North American Review, and The Southern Review, among others. In addition, her journalism and essays have appeared in a variety of publications including The New York Times, The New York Observer, and The Millions. She lives in New York City.


Photo from Flickr Creative Commons user janwillemsen

January 7, 2013

Although I usually use this column to highlight exemplary writing about place, this month I’d like to bring attention to some of the many beautiful photo essays I’ve stumbled across in the past few months. With the popularity of slide shows on the web, it’s easy to take extraordinary photography for granted, but every once in a while, when I stop to think about what I am able witness on my laptop screen, I am blown away. An extreme example is Slate’s recent round-up of the year’s best images in astronomy. Here you’ll find photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter interspersed with earth-bound shots of the Northern Lights.

Photo from The Library of Congress

December 31, 2012

During this holiday week, The Common is presenting highlights from the past year. Today's highlights come from our weekly staff column, "In House."

Photo from The Library of Congress

In "A View from the Cheap Seats", Elizabeth Byrne talks sports; in the aftermath of Hurrican Sandy, Hannah Gersen reflects on the transience of place, asking, "Is Geography Destiny?"

December 3, 2012

This literary map of the United States, which pins American writers to their places of birth, got me wondering if certain stories exist apart from writers, and the trick (no small trick) is in discovering them in the landscape. Huck Finn seems more bound to the Mississippi River than to Mark Twain’s imagination. And if Tennessee Williams had never been born, I wouldn’t be surprised if some other writer bumped into Blanche Dubois.

Photo by Mike Arauz

November 7, 2012

I live a few blocks from a cruise ship terminal. When ships dock there, they tower above the nearby buildings, which top out at four or five stories high. At night, their decks and windows glitter in neat rows, like high-rise apartment buildings, as if downtown Manhattan has suddenly been pulled close. When the ships finally depart, their horns boom dramatically, out of place in my quiet, unassuming neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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