“You Will Never Be Forgotten”
by Mary South
from the January 27, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
“You Will Never Be Forgotten” is the title story to what I believe is Mary South’s debut, a collection of short stories that comes out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March. I’m assuming, then, that this will be an introduction to South for most all of us. I’m interested to see where her story goes after this provocative, though rather general (probably because this story is sadly becoming more and more familiar), opening paragraph.
The rapist is such an inspiration that he started a newsletter to share his story. He chronicles his transformation from a nerdy duckling into the muscular entrepreneur swan he is today. The newsletter began as a motivational tool for his annual charity triathlon, but it has become much, much more. It’s a meditation on health, tech, spirituality, culture, and, of course, pushing through limitations and not understanding the meaning of the word “no.” The woman has been following the rapist on social media since the rape, though her accounts don’t officially “follow” the rapist. When the woman accidentally liked a post, she achieved a new personal best in self-hatred, just as the rapist was achieving a new personal best in his triathlon. She imagined the rapist receiving a notification of the like and considering it proof that the rape had been consensual. The rapist works for the most prestigious seed fund in Silicon Valley, which is a fact the woman finds funny in retrospect. The woman works as a content moderator at the world’s most popular search engine, in a room with no windows or ventilation system, shoulder to shoulder with unfortunate souls.
Please let us know your thoughts on the story below. I’ll be going on holiday later this week, and this is definitely something I plan to read while waiting for transportation (if I haven’t gotten to it sooner).