Lately, Mendelsohn has been trying to figure out whether to keep going. There aren’t a lot of surprises in this work — every line of inquiry ultimately leads back to the same place: a boat. “I don’t know whether the fact that all these stories end up looking the same is a reason not to do it or a reason to do it,” she says. The sameness of the stories is the through line of America.
“I look at my great-grandmother,” Mendelsohn says. “Literally, she got on a boat for me because she saw something here. How can I look at anyone else and say, sorry, but the door is closed?”
Recently, Mendelsohn was at a party when she learned she had at least one high-profile fan. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, also a guest, said he knew her work — his daughter had introduced him to Mendelsohn’s tweets, he told The Washington Post in an interview. O’Malley and Mendelsohn talked for a bit, and he later sent an email: “It was an honor to meet you,” it said. “Keep writing. Your country needs you.” It was the best compliment she could have imagined.