“The Other One”
by Tessa Haldey
from the April 13, 2020 issue of The New Yorker
I adore Tessa Hadley’s work. With each new story I read I become more and more convinced she is one of the great short story writers out there. I’m excited to see a new story from her. More than ever I’m excited to see a new story from her. “The Other One” begins with a look back at a woman’s childhood, which is common ground for Hadley:
When Heloise was twelve, in 1986, her father was killed in a car crash. But it was a bit more complicated than that. He was supposed to be away in Germany at a sociology conference, only the accident happened in France, and there were two young women in the car with him. One of them was his lover, it turned out in the days and weeks after the crash, and the other one was his lover’s friend. He’d never even registered at the conference. Didn’t it seem strange, Heloise’s mother asked long afterward, in her creaky, surprised, lightly ironic voice, as if it only touched her curiosity, that the two lovebirds had taken a friend along with them for their tryst in Paris? The lover was also killed; her friend was seriously injured. Heloise’s mother, Angie, had found out some of these things when she rushed to be at her husband’s bedside in a hospital in France: he lived on for a few days after the accident, though he never recovered consciousness.
Heloise is looking back on this more than thirty years later (so more or less the present day). The other one is referring to the friend who survived. I haven’t read much more of the story as of yet, but I’m betting this is the beginning of quite a bit of drama. I’m excited to sit down with this!
I hope you are doing well, wherever you are, and that you’re able to enjoy something new from Hadley (or whatever you’re reading to be sure). I look forward to hearing from you if you care to share your comments below.