A Wrinkle in the Realm
by Ben Okri
from the February 8, 2021 issue of The New Yorker
Ben Okri’s The Famished Road won the 1991 Booker Prize. I thought I had reviewed it on the site in the early days, but I don’t see that I did. I found it wonderful and complex, but it’s the only book of his I’ve ever read. I admit I needed a lot of help to get through it, and I’ve been intimidated by his work ever since.
I really like how “A Wrinkle in the Realm” starts.
The first time he realized that there was something not quite right about him was when a woman crossed the street as she saw him coming. He thought it was a coincidence. Then it happened again.
He began to watch those around him. One day, on the Underground, a woman three empty seats away moved her handbag to her other side when she saw him. He wasn’t sure why.
After the fourth or fifth time something like that happened, he looked at himself in the mirror. He thought he was normal, like everyone else. But when he looked at himself through the eyes of those who clutched their handbags when they saw him he understood that his face was not as normal as he’d thought.
I’m getting behind on some of the latest New Yorker stories I want to read, but this one is going on the list. Let me know your thoughts below.