Nell Lake

Coping When All is Hopeless

By Notable Narratives January 17, 2007

We liked the focus in this piece on one patient, the very clear narrative and progression from scene to scene. We thought the use of the doctor’s internal soundtrack a good structural and thematic device. Overall it’s an affecting window … Read more

Two Brothers Make a Family

By Notable Narratives January 17, 2007

Usually we want newspaper narratives with highly emotional content to connect with some larger public issue; otherwise they’re so often mawkish, sentimental. But there are also, of course, plenty of pieces so well written that they stand on their own. Read more


By Notable Narratives January 4, 2007

Shiffman and his editor, Avery Rome, made a very complicated story readable and highly engaging by sticking closely to narrative technique. Read “Drugnet,” by John Shiffman … Read more


By Notable Narratives January 4, 2007

This is a great example of linking a deeply personal experience to a larger social issue, or in this case to social history. Latimer traces her mother’s fear of showing affection to her institutionalization during the 1950s for tuberculosis. Latimer … Read more

Katrina’s Nameless Dead

By Notable Narratives January 3, 2007

Bruce DeSilva wrote us this about the piece: “Rukmini Callimachi is an AP bureau writer with less than 5 years in the business. She set out to do a situationer on the 30 Katrina victims still unidentified and unburied. The … Read more

Equal Treatment

By Notable Narratives December 13, 2006

This piece uses narrative elements in shedding light on an irony of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as it gets worked out at one locus, one institution. The piece is narrative in the sense that it’s about “real” people and contains some … Read more

Father, Son and Holy Rift

By Notable Narratives December 13, 2006

“One by one they fell away, the doctrinal pillars of the house his father built.” This is the story of Chuck Smith, Jr., and his movement away from the stern beliefs and fundamentalist community of his father’s church. The story … Read more

Tay Sachs: At What Cost?

By Notable Narratives December 12, 2006

This piece is in some ways “just” another story about tragically ill children. But it’s also a useful exploration of ethical issues around the lengths parents will go, understandably, to save their sick children. In this case, a doctor uses … Read more

One Spoonful at a Time

By Notable Narratives December 12, 2006

This is a fascinating, moving piece of memoir. We admired the masterly sequencing of the reader’s experience, from evocative scene to background and back to scene. But the background is also plot: Brown the character compulsively gathers information; it’s part … Read more