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by Deborah Silverton Rosenfelt
“I Stand Here Ironing” is a story about a working mother, but to call it that — even to call it the best story ever written about a working mother — feels reductive. Work-life balance may now be the stuff of Atlantic cover stories and Lean In, but in 1961, exploring it in fiction was a downright radical act.
Tillie Olsen’s stories turned me into a fiction writer, as if they pointed to a door in what had looked like a blank wall — a door to which, as it turned out, I owned a key.