by Lauren Groff
from the February 1, 2021 issue of The New Yorker
Since I started posting on stories in The New Yorker, Lauren Groff has shown up seven (now eight) times, with a pretty steady flow of one story per year for the last half decade. I like her stories a lot, though I’ve never turned this into a deeper exploration of her work. Here’s another opportunity to read her work and maybe reevaluate my TBR pile to include one of her novels.
I’m very excited by “The Wind.” I think Groff’s stories are delicate and dark, and this one seems to be of a kind:
Pretend, the mother had said when she crept into her daughter’s room in the night, that tomorrow is just an ordinary day.
So the daughter had risen as usual and washed and made toast and warm milk for her brothers, and while they were eating she emptied their schoolbags into the toy chest and filled them with clothes, a toothbrush, one book for comfort. The children moved silently through the black morning, put on their shoes outside on the porch. The dog thumped his tail against the doghouse in the cold yard but was old and did not get up. The children’s breath hovered low and white as they walked down to the bus stop, a strange presence trailing them in the road.
That’s quite the haunting opening, wonderfully done, especially considering so much of it is just describing — but in well paced and suggestive sentences — children simply getting ready for the day.
I’ll be reading this one as soon as possible. Please feel welcome to comment below to let us know what you think!