“Without Inspection”
by Edwidge Danticat
from the May 14, 2018 issue of The New Yorker

After going nearly a decade without publishing a story in The New Yorker, Edwidge Danticat is following up “Sunrise, Sunset” with another after just a few months. “Sunrise, Sunset,” which was published last September, split commenters here (see the post), though those who liked it really enjoyed it. That post also led to comments that “writers of color never seem to do well here,” so I hope folks are mindful of their assumptions and expectations when reading and commenting . . . not that you have to praise the story or withhold judgment if you find it lacking.

I haven’t read “Without Inspection” yet, but I find the opening paragraph quite compelling and timely for some who may be watching children grow up and move on:

It took Arnold six and a half seconds to fall five hundred feet. During that time, an image of his son, Paris, flashed before his eyes: Paris, dressed in his red school-uniform shirt and khakis the day of his kindergarten graduation. That morning, Paris’s mother, Darline, had skipped around the apartment changing dresses, as if she were the one graduating. Closing his eyes tightly as the hot wind he was plunging through battered his face, Arnold saw Paris at the classroom ceremony. He saw himself, too, standing next to Darline, who had finally chosen a billowing sapphire-colored satin dress. He was in the one black suit he wore to everything, to weddings and to funerals.

This detached rendering of a man falling — to his death? — reminds me of one of David Hayden’s “Egress,” which I wrote about here.

I’m excited to see how it is and how it fares in the comments below. I particularly hope that some who never comment feel comfortable and confident to share their views on the story.

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