‘The Thistles in Sweden’ by William Maxwell

This is a sublime story about marriage, about gender roles, about disappointment. I adore the oh-so-precise description of his apartment in Murray Hill. It makes me wildly nostalgic for a Manhattan I missed out on knowing, since the story is set in 1950. That description’s followed me all my days, and I could walk through their home blindfolded. The story thrums with heartache and love.

Pause for sighs of appreciation. Anthologised in All the Days and Nights: The Collected Stories of William Maxwell; First published in The New Yorker in 1976; available to read there and also here

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