"Back the Way You Went" by Anne Carson Originally published in the October 31, 2016 issue of The New Yorker.
It’s wonderful to see Anne Carson in The New Yorker again this year. Her strange story / poem “1 = 1” was one of the first stories published this year, and we discussed it here. This one may be even stranger! See the beginning:
Because she has a broken heart and then her mother dies, D and F take her with them on a weekend getaway. The getaway place is a honeycomb. Bees stream through the streets and the night. Bees huddling, zooming, gleaming and anxious, bees rolling along like sailors, bees licking the barley out of one another’s beards. D and F are bees, too, and go ahead to guider her on the stream. The stream is drunk. They stumble to their rented house. I’ll be fine, she thinks.
Strange indeed. But I think Anne Carson can usually pull this stuff off beautifully. Her name is frequently thrown in when folks are talking about potential winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and I think with good reason (I’d love to see it some day).
This is a short piece, made up of three brief sections, and I’m intrigued after reading the beginning. Hopefully my schedule will die down a bit and I’ll be able to focus on this more and be part of the discussion this time around — I think this will yield some varied responses as we try to understand just what Carson is up to and whether it works for us. I’m excited to see the discussion below!