“Chicago on the Seine”
by Camille Bordas
from the June 17, 2024 issue of The New Yorker

We’ve had a lot of stories by Camille Bordas in The New Yorker over the past decade, and I’m always looking forward to more. I’m in a bit of a rush to get this up and get out the door this morning, so I don’t have a lot more to say to introduce the story. Here is the first paragraph!

I used to tell myself stories on the job, to make it feel exciting — spy stories, exfiltration stories, war stories. I used to come up with poignant little details that turned the repatriation cases I worked on into “Saving Private Ryan,” into “Johnny Got His Gun.” Repatriation—there’s such a ring to it, such drama. I imagined maimed bodies in dirty tents, nurses changing brown, bloodied gauze, bending over beds to tell the wounded, “The call came in — you’re going home.” Yet I worked in Special Consular Services at our Embassy in Paris. The Americans I helped repatriate mostly broke legs in Pigalle or crashed rental cars in Normandy. Miracles didn’t happen for them in Lourdes — people don’t talk about it, but those for whom miracles don’t happen in Lourdes tend to leave France in worse shape than they arrived in.

I’ll be reading it soon and posting my thoughts below. In the meantime, please share your thoughts below as well!

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