Other People's Dirt: A Housecleaner's Curious Adventuresby Louise Rafkin
"Alone in a house, I piece together strands of life stories as if I were an archaeologist, the home a midden... I don't read diaries, I read clues." After earning an M.A. in Comparative Literature, Louise Rafkin, facing a career choice, took the road less traveled. She became a housecleaner. The money was better than teaching, the lifestyle intriguing for someone with an insatiable curiosity about her fellow human beings. And while she quickly became an expert on the best vacuum cleaner in the world--and the most efficient paper towels--she also saw the unseen parts of people's lives.
In this fresh, funny, strikingly original memoir, she talks about her invisible status as a domestic worker in a world of illicit sex and secret livees, of closet alcoholics and binge eaters, unlikely spiritualists and revealing celebrities.
In Other People's Dirt, Louise Rafkin reveals something about our values, our society, and ourselves. And, from the detritus of our lives, she gives us something at once delightfully entertaining and profound.
"Rafkin is a wonderful storyteller." --The Wall Street Journal
"Rafkin delivers the dirt on cleaning with investigative zeal and remarkable depth. A!" --Entertainment Weekly
"A wonderfully odd-ball memoir...Rafkin delights in the absurdities of her profession and has a keen eye for the peculiarities of human behavior." --The San Francisco Chronicle
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.34(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.61(d)
Meet the Author
While cleaning houses, Louise Rafkin earned her BA in English from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and her MA in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1981. Her writing has appeared in many publications, including Ladies' Home Journal, New York Times Magazine, Boston Phoenix, Out, Women's Review of Books, Whole Earth Review, and Poets & Writers. And in recent years, she has received awards and recognition for her writing: the San Francisco Cable Car Award for Best Local Writing in 1989; first place in the San Francisco Bay Guardian fiction competition in 1989; and a Lambda Literary Award in 1991. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Zimtbaum Foundation Fine Arts Work Center, the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. Rafkin recently moved from New York to Berkeley, California.
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