“Wood Sorrel House” by Zach Williams from the March 21, 2022 issue of The New Yorker
This is, I believe, Zach Williams’s first published story. At least, it is stated as much in his interview with Deborah Treisman, who does not say “first story published in The New Yorker,” and I cannot find any other instance (please let me know if this is incorrect). It’s exciting to get to know a brand new author!
This story takes a couple, Ronna and Jacob, to an out-of-the-way summer rental. The story begins with this paragraph about this “idyllic” place, though it sounds ominous.
It was a modest summer rental, the kind Ronna recalled from girlhood trips to Maine or Vermont or the Finger Lakes, set in a small clearing on a thickly wooded mountainside, peacefully out of sight of roads or neighbors or anything else. Jacob opened all the doors, came back downstairs, and remarked a little sternly that the cottage needed updates: the range wobbled, the mattress caved in the middle, the woolly plaid sofas were from another era. Still, there was something idyllic about the place.
The couple is raising a toddler named Max, and it sounds like things get quite . . . strange. In his interview, he says he was reading Shirley Jackson and Joy Williams at the time. Sounds exciting!
What did you think of the story? Does it make you want to read whatever Williams comes out with next? I look forward to reading your thoughts below!
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