Maile Meloy is a recent discovery for me. Technically, I’ve learned a lot from the way she controls time, but also from the emotional boldness of the stories. Sometimes, when writing a story, I feel myself pulling away from the strong emotions, always wanting to be subtle. Meloy just whacks you shamelessly with feelings, which is very refreshing. This story is about a cowboy who accidentally goes into an evening class taught by a young lawyer who doesn’t want to be there because it’s a nine-hour drive from where she lives. Meloy has another one about a lawyer called ‘Tome’ – also amazing.
First published in The New Yorker, October 2002, and available to subscribers to read here. Collected in Both Ways is the Only Way I Want it, Riverhead, 2009/Canongate, 2010