‘Split-Level’ Examines Challenge Of Marriage

first_imgShort story writer and novelist, Sande Boritz Berger, who grew up on the south shore of Long Island, completed the MFA program in writing and literature from Stony Brook Southampton College, where she was awarded the Deborah Hecht Memorial Prize in Fiction. For years, she has also attended the Stony Brook Southampton summer writing program.A strong advocate of writing groups, she kept going to workshops even as her career path took her into scriptwriting and video producing. In “Split-Level,” she returns to her first and continuing passion — fiction — and a reader can see how decades writing for the mass media and exposure to “amazing writers” in the MFA program have informed her novels. Boritz Berger has a good ear for dialogue, especially the internal kind. In “Split-Level,” her first-person protagonist, self-aware, attractive but insecure, has conversations with herself. Little does she realize how life-shattering they will become. And little does the reader anticipate how it will all turn out.Alex Pearl, a young wife and mother and occasional painter living in suburban New Jersey, appears to be happily married to Donny, her teenage sweetheart, and deliciously in love with their two young daughters, though she allows her brash-talking good friend Rona to intimidate her daily on the phone, especially about shopping and decorating: “How can I so easily distinguish each Modigliani, a Manet from a Monet, but remain pathetically lost on chuck roast, tenderloin, and filet?”Alex also defers to her good-looking, restless, and frustrated husband who defers to his father, having given up hopes to make it in music, his love, in order to continue the family business: manufacturing high-end brassieres. In other words, Alex is settled into traditional marriage and motherhood, though she warily observes the failings of her own parents’ marriage.But wait: Boritz Berger sets her tale in the 1970s when, as readers of a certain age recall, the swinging ’60s seduced many young people into thinking they could make the earth move by way of sexual and political revolution. Not a time to be in the bra business, for sure, but also, as Alex discovers slowly and fearfully, not a time to count on traditions or conventions (religious and societal) to counter the influence of Woodstock.“The post-Nixon era was a time of great change,” the author says, “a shake-up of sorts when people took their government and maybe even lives for granted” and saw everything shift, creating “instability and mistrust . . . The changes affected families, marriages, jobs, and our country’s future.” Be happy was the mantra, be “free.” As a married neighbor says to Alex, “It’s certainly tough work, staying home and raising kids, plus I hear the pay is lousy.” The neighbor is Charlie Bell, who’s sexy as well as sympathetic.Even if Alex seems a passive player in the counter culture seeping its bohemian way into “split-level” life — the title obviously symbolizes suburban house and home — she does smoke pot and follows the beat of funk and rock. Still, when she realizes that her husband may have a roving eye (and more), her instinct is a couple’s retreat dedicated to marriage counseling — scenes Bortiz-Berger explores with humor and pathos. She knows how to make character change credible, avoid cliché, and integrate the complexities of desire, guilt, and mistrust. She also enjoys crafting steamy sex scenes.In light of the #MeToo movement and advances women have made in the workplace and in defining and refining their personal identities, “Split-Level” takes on special significance, especially considering how Boritz Berger resolves her plot complications. Although the author has said that today, unlike the 1970s, women today feel support with other women, “making us more cohesive and less fearful to ask for what we want and to express what we cannot accept: the unacceptable,” she knows that women still find themselves in complicated, often guilt-ridden relationships if not with spouses, then with parents and grown children. This is especially true for single mothers, who have split from, or have been split off by, their partners. Marriage has always been challenging, Boritz Berger says. Women struggle and much still gets put on hold “sometimes for many years, sometimes, forever.”“Split-Level” is certain to engage discussion in the kind of workshops or book clubs the author has enjoyed, both for its cultural history as well as for how she uses style and structure to represent the ’70s in a way that resonates for our own day. Sharelast_img read more

Calgaz celebrates safety milestones

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

Wyclef Jean anuonnces his vote for the next Haitian President

first_imgA look at some of the top stories making the news today, June 29th, across your Caribbean-American community in South Florida.Here’s a look at our top stories.The first Zika-related microcephaly birth in Florida has confirmed by the Florida Department of Health. The mother, a Haitian national who came to Florida to give birth, was infected with Zika before arriving to Florida. There have been two other Zika-related microcephaly births in the U.S, one in Hawaii and one in New Jersey.Miami-Dade County Commissioners have passed an ordinance banning Styrofoam products from county parks and beaches beginning summer 2017. Styrofoam poses problems when the container, which is non-biodegradable and linked to cancer, breaks into smaller pieces and gets scattered throughout public spaces and neighboring bodies of water. Violators of the ordinance will incur at $50 fine.Jamaican – American rapper, Tyga has released a new single titled ‘1 of 1’  and it is being called a diss to Drake’s song ‘Controlla’. Mr. Vegas, a Jamaican dancehall artiste, who has called Drake ‘fake’ in a Facebook live video is sampled on Tyga’s single adding to the controversy.In Sports, for the N.A.S.L, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers will play Orlando City SC at the Camping World Stadium tonight at 7:30. After a 4-3 PK shootout win against D.C. United in the last round, this will be the first time in Strikers history that they have made it to the 5th round of the U.S Open Cup.Here’s a look at what’s Trending:International hip hop singer, Wyclef Jean, took to twitter announcing Jude Célestin has his vote to be the next President of Haiti! Celeste responded by thanking Wycleaf for his endorsement of his vision of a prosperous Haiti where opportunities will be available to all. Elections were cancelled earlier this month due to fraud and will be held again in October.For todays weather forecast:Scattered storms in Broward County with a high of 89 and a low of 76. Partly Cloudy in Miami-Dade, with a high of 89 and a low of 78.For more information on these and other stories, visit caribbeannationalweekly.com. Remember to pick up this week’s copy of our Caribbean National Weekly at your nearest Caribbean – American outlet.last_img read more