“What the Forest Remembers” by Jennifer Egan from the January 3 & 10, 2022 issue of The New Yorker
For our first bit of fiction of 2022 (I know, when I post this it’s still 2021, but you know what I mean), we get “What the Forest Remembers” by Jennifer Egan. It was over a decade ago, in 2010, that I first read Egan in the pages of The New Yorker. They published a few stories that would become chapters in her not-yet-Pulitzer-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. Now, after all this time, we get, of all things, a sequel? That’s right, in April Egan will be publishing The Candy House, which is being called “a sibling novel” to Goon Squad.
I’m excited to see what she’s up to with this one, and for once I’m glad we get an excerpt here!
First, I’m always a sucker for stories that begin this way:
Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a forest. It’s gone now (burned), and the four men walking in it are gone, too, which is what makes it far away. Neither it nor they exist anymore.
The next paragraph gives us a bit more placement:
But in June, 1965, the redwoods have a velvety, primeval look that brings to mind leprechauns or djinns or fairies. Three of the four men have never been in these ancient woods before, and to them the forest looks otherworldly, so removed is it from their everyday vistas of wives and children and offices. The oldest, Lou Kline, is only thirty-one, but all were born in the nineteen-thirties and raised without antibiotics, their military service completed before they went to college. Men of their generation got started on adulthood right away.
I will definitely be reading this one this week. I have time off work, which means I can stay up late and get up early to read without feeling irresponsible!
Please let me know in the comments below what you think of
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