William Finnegan Surfing, and Kristen Roupenian Among the Pilgrims
William Finnegan’s memoir, “Barbarian Days,” from 2015, holds the distinction of being the one book about surfing to win a Pulitzer Prize. On a Sunday morning, not long past dawn, he took David Remnick to the Rockaways for his first and only surfing lesson. And Kristen Roupenian, the author of the story “Cat Person,” revisits her old stomping grounds of Plimoth Plantation, the living-history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where reënactors portray pilgrims from the early seventeenth century. Roupenian’s “Cat Person” revolves around online romance and consent, and it touched a nerve with readers in the #MeToo era, becoming one of the most-read stories ever on newyorker.com. It couldn’t be more of the moment, but Roupenian credits those Pilgrim reënactors for shaping her as a writer. Growing up near Plimoth Plantation, she says, you realize early that history isn’t a sequence of facts: it’s always a story someone is telling you.