This week Joyce Carol Oates takes us back to the idealic setting of Hazelton-on-Hudson, only recently there have been a series of natural disasters. The land is falling apart. The residents are dying of various diseases. The central character, Luce, watches in horror while still trying to find some kind of normalcy her husband demands. The story starts with a bit of this:
This matter of the face mask, for instance.
Well, just a half mask, a green gauze mask, of the kind that medical workers wear. Not a full-face mask — that would be ridiculous.
Even before the floods, landslides, and firestorms of the past several years, Luce (sometimes) wore a gauze mask. Not in public! Just at home.
I’m always glad to see Oates show up in the magazine. She is so prolific I don’t even know where to begin with a deep dive into her work, but I like it when her short fiction shows up on a Monday morning.
What do you think about Oates’s spin on Jonathan Edwards’ famous 1741 sermon? Please let me know below!