Ten Rivers to Cross


“I saw it alone, I saw it with friends, I saw it in Dallas, I saw it In New York, I saw it late, I saw it early, I saw it on the weekend, I saw it during work, I saw it after coffee, I saw it after beer, I saw it with popcorn, I saw it without, and at each screening, I took notes.”—Edward McPherson

Esopus asked writer Edward McPherson to see the critically acclaimed film Mystic River ten times and record, as he put it, “the fallout” from his repeated viewings. Over the course of a frigid January, McPherson accomplished his mission. In his notes, we witness the unraveling of more than the film’s byzantine plot.

Edward McPherson is a Pushcart Prize-winning author of the books Buster Keaton: Tempest in a Flat Hat (Faber & Faber, 2004), The Backwash Squeeze and Other Improbable Feats (HarperCollins, 2009), and The History of the Future: American Essays (Coffee House Press, 2017). He has written for The New York Times Magazine, the Paris Review, and Talk, among other publications. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN Southwest Book Award, the Gulf Coast Prize in Fiction, an Artist Fellowship from the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, and the Gesell Award from the University of Minnesota, where he received his M.F.A. McPherson, a contributing editor of the Common Reader, teaches in the creative writing program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.