Nancy Rommelmann's work appears in the LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Reason, and other publications.
Advance praise for TO THE BRIDGE, A True Story of Motherhood and Murder (Little A, July 2018)
"In TO THE BRIDGE, Nancy Rommelmann takes what many consider the most unforgivable of crimes—a mother set on murdering her own children—and delivers something thoughtful and provocative: a deeply reported, sensitively told, all-too-relevant tragedy of addiction and codependency, toxic masculinity, and capricious justice. You won’t be able to look away—nor should any of us.” - Robert Kolker, author of LOST GIRLS
“How do you understand the not understandable and forgive the unforgivable? So asks one of the characters in this clear-eyed investigation into something we all turn away from. TO THE BRIDGE is tour-de-force of both journalism and compassion, in the lineage of such masterpieces In Cold Blood and The Executioner’s Song. Word by word, sentence by sentence, Rommelmann’s writing is that good. And so is her heart.” - Nick Flynn, author of ANOTHER BULLSHIT NIGHT IN SUCK CITY
That a story as charged as a mother killing her children might be told with balance; that we might anti-sensationalize it, is my best hope. I believe Amy Frazier and KOIN 6 have done so here, and for this, they have my sincere gratitude
Kelsey and Remy Bennett (known in our house as "the Power Sisters") have produced an astonishing series of short documentaries, UNDER HER SKIN. Premiering today on i-D, a 15-minute film about my daughter Tafv Sampson," a personal portrait of creativity and America's cultural landscape."
Over on Playboy.com, one of my favorite humans, Remy Bennett, talks "Serial" and "Making a Murderer" and the ethics surrounding our current obsession with true crime as entertainment. She also gives "Destination Gacy" a little love.
“I think of it every day; I never go over that bridge without thinking about it,” says Pati Gallagher. Her residence is as close as any in Portland to the Sellwood Bridge, her patio a three good strides from the river, and where she was sitting when she heard the children hit the water...
On the night she died, my mom drove to a motel to buy cocaine with two men.”
This is the first sentence of Leah Carroll’s memoir, “Down City.” The paragraph ends with one of the men telling her mother, whom he is choking with a towel, “Come on you rat. Give me the death rattle...”
Fox tells me she will be receiving the Hadada Award from the Paris Review on April 6, that she is “the eighth writer to get it,” others include Norman Mailer, Williams Styron, Philip Roth, John Berryman and Joan Didion. I ask her how this feels.
“It feels good,” she says, to be recognized. “But it’s only for a short time. Time swallows us all.”
I will be on a panel this Saturday, February 11 at 9am, with four other authors who write about violence: Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich ("The Fact of a Body"), Chinelo Okparanta ("Happiness, Like Water"), R.O. Kwon ("Heroics") and Robin Wasserman ("Girls on Fire"). Do stop in if you're at AWP 2017 or in DC.
My review of Douglas Preston's new book, in today's Wall Street Journal. I suspect other reviews may liken the true adventure to Indiana Jones. I did not, but there are man-size snakes spitting venom, a forest floor "carpeted with glistening cockroaches" and a parasitic disease that will eat through your face.
Very nice work by Vogue.com on the standoff at Standing Rock. My daughter Tafv Sampson was there last week, bringing in supplies, shooting photos, and working with the Vogue crew. (If you don't blink you will see her in the video). Hoka hey, protectors.
Sometimes you don't know why you are offered an assignment, as was the case when someone from A & E contacted me to see whether I wanted to interview the filmmakers of the docuseries The Killing Season. Something told me, I did want to.
Published in Newsday
My review of American Heiress, in which author Jeffrey Toobin unpacks what we know and think we know about the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and argues an excellent case for Hearst being the ultimate opportunist — or a young woman so morally pliant she bent whichever way the wind blew.
We have watched two others die, they wizened like apples; I flew across the country for the first death, to be at Dave’s bedside. I watched him die. I had seen someone die before but not like this. There was so much beauty at the moment of death, near audible like a sip through a straw rushing into the night, the skin on his face going taut in an instant, and the color of beeswax.
Watching the RNC and DNC conventions, those mixing the Kool-Aid and those drinking it was clear. This made me think of the first sociopath I was obliged to try to make sense of. Here, a clip from Destination Gacy, the story of when I drove cross-country with Rick Gaez, a pen pal of John Wayne Gacy, to visit the serial killer shortly before his execution.
Published in the Wall Street Journal
One of the things I love best about reviewing books for the Wall Street Journal is seeing the titles my editors give the reviews. The piece that runs tomorrow, about a father-daughter adventure in the Arctic? "Go Play Outside."