Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Lesley Nneka Arima's "Who Will Greet You at Home" was originally published in the October 26, 2015 issue of The New Yorker.
Based solely on the image accompanying this week’s story, it looks like The New Yorker is giving us a Halloween treat! Lesley Nneka Arimah is a young author who is still working on her debut collection of stories and debut novel, so I’m anxious to see how you all respond to her work. To tease you, here is her first paragraph:
The yarn baby lasted a good month, emitting dry, cotton-soft gurgles and pooping little balls of lint, before Ogechi snagged its thigh on a nail and it unraveled as she continued walking, mistaking its little huffs for the beginnings of hunger, not the cries of an infant being undone. By the time she noticed, it was too late, the leg a tangle of fibre, and she pulled the string the rest of the way to end it, rather than have the infant grow up maimed. If she was to mother a child, to mute and subdue and fold away parts of herself, the child had to be perfect.
Happy reading — and let us know what you think the comments below!
To start us off, here are Adrienne’s initial thoughts:
Not so amazing for me, but I am SURE someone will love it! :-)
While the language of this story is lyrical — the opening paragraph is quite beautiful — this genre is not something I enjoy. I love the traditional Grimm’s fairy tales, but I do not enjoy newly created parables or fables (think Dan Miller or Paul Coehlo). They feel forced, and what I enjoy about fiction is the ease with which reality is addressed, even if in a hyperbolic way.
Maybe I am still reeling from the wonders of last week’s story (Ben Marcus’s “Cold Little Bird”), and the intriguing examination of fatherhood. Maybe. But this mythological invention of motherhood has less for me to link with, less to embrace. And because it is not a “common” folk tale, it did not take root in prior memories or schemas.
This story is vaguely reminiscent of “The Snow Child” but less beautiful, more harsh and unyielding. Universal themes and ideas are addressed.
Even still, the writing is delightful. It is animated, and I can see the story unfolding in my mind’s eye. The sensations for the reader of scene and character were well done.