“Marriage Quarantine”
by Kate Walbert
from the December 6, 2021 issue of The New Yorker

There are likely only going to be three stories in December, and the first is “Quarantine Marriage,” by Kate Walbert. Walbert has appeared in The New Yorker a couple of times before, most recently in 2019. She has written six novels, though I’ve read only her debut, The Gardens of Kyoto, which I really liked.

Here we get a story about a marriage in the pandemic. Mary Jane and Daniel

Mary Jane follows her husband, Daniel, from room to room, words pouring out of her, yammering. Or hammering, as he has said, as if she must hit every nail on the head. What does he mean by that, she wanted to know.

What do you mean by that? she had asked, but Daniel shrugged.

No idea, he said.

I’ve gotten a ways through the story already and am enjoying it. Walbert is very good at narrating their inner lives as they inhabit a close, shared space. I’m anxious to see where it goes!

I hope you’ll share your thoughts on the story. Have a wonderful week, as we get into this final month of 2021.

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