“The Party”
by Keith Ridgway
from the May 24, 2021 issue of The New Yorker

Keith Ridgway is a long-time favorite, and I’m thrilled to see him in The New Yorker again! He has a new novel, A Shock, coming out from New Directions in July. “The Party” comes from this novel. I have a copy and plan to start it soon, so I’m not sure whether to read this as a primer or just wait until I come across a party in A Shock. A good conundrum!

Here is how this story begins:

She fries an egg but leaves it then, lying in the pan until it is completely cold. She bites at her nails and glances repeatedly at the window, seeing nothing but her tiny empty garden and the tiny empty sky, until eventually she sighs and lowers the blind. She feeds the cat, though not with the egg, which she seems to have forgotten. While wiping the table she stops suddenly and listens. There is silence but for the usual sounds of the house in the evening and a light breeze outside—no hint of rain—and the tick of the kitchen clock. Perhaps it was that. She resumes wiping, and brushes absolutely nothing into her cupped hand, which she examines briefly then slaps against her hip.

I look forward to hearing how you all feel about “The Party” or Ridgway in general!

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