There’s so much pain, terror and love in this story, it’s exquisite. We find ourselves on the run with a woman fleeing her abusive husband. It’s clear that if the escape is not pulled off precisely, if she doesn’t manage to slip away with her children in tow, he will murder her. The narrator is the granddaughter of the story’s brave protagonist, and is retelling the tale as passed down to her from her mother. It’s a beautifully written and touching portrayal of a mother staying strong for the sake of her children — styling her hair though her face is battered, smiling though her husband knocked out her teeth. It’s a tragic, heartbreaking piece of work that highlights the reality faced by many women the world over. I can’t fangirl hard enough over Lauren Groff at the moment — my love heart eyes pop out on their stalks when I read her work.
First published in The New Yorker, January 25 2021, and available to read online for subscribers