The Austin Chronicle

Cloudy With a Chance of Winik

Marion Winik navigates the single life in 'Highs in the Low Fifties'

By Monica Riese, June 21, 2013, Arts

To many Austinites, "the joys of single living" is a complete oxymoron and "highs in the low 50s" sounds like an absolutely miserable day. But to Marion Winik, it's life, and life is good.

Winik's name may be familiar to longtime Chronicle readers; she began her career writing personal essays in these pages back in the late Eighties. Since then, she's contributed to NPR's All Things Considered, received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and published half a dozen books of poetry and prose: First Comes Love is about her first husband and his battle with AIDS; The Lunch-Box Chronicles: Notes From the Parenting Underground includes stories from life as a single mom; Rules for the Unruly: Living an Unconventional Life is a book of advice; and Above Us Only Sky collects short remembrances dedicated to those who touched her life. She continues this deeply personal trend with her latest release, Highs in the Low Fifties: How I Stumbled Through the Joys of Single Living (Globe Pequot, 224 pp., $21.95).

The book, which hit shelves Tuesday, comprises 16 essays cataloging Winik's adventures in dating following the end of her second marriage. From online dating profiles to therapy sessions and stereotypically disastrous dates, the subjects are funny, albeit lamentably identifiable across several generations. Though she now lives in Maryland (see her essay "Love in the Time of Baltimore"), Winik returns to Austin next month to read at BookPeople, but she offers us this forecast, an abbreviated version of the opening essay (See "Desperate Housewives of Roland Park").

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