Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Short Story Wednesday: "Neighbors" Zach Williams from THE NEW YORKER


The story.


 The author's discussion of his story

A couple trying to rebound from an infidelity rent a house in an area not far from SF, known for its fog and remoteness. A neighbor's son, comes to visit and asks the husband to keep an eye on his elderly mother. Of course, something happens and our hero goes to investigate. While there, a strange, shadowy figure moves around him as he hovers over the body. Whenever our protagonist moves, so does shadowy figure. Eventually he calls the police in and the shadowy figure disappears. 

I thought I had this figured out and that this shadowy figure was  a metaphor for the unknown man his wife had had an affair with. But from this interview, I don't think the author meant anything that concrete. 

George Kelley

Kevin Tipple 

Jerry House 



Diane Kelley said...

For the many years that I subscribed toTHE NEW YORKER, stories about infidelity became a staple. Husbands cheating on their wives, wives cheating on their husbands, plenty of lies and evasions on both sides. The guys I know who cheated on their wives mostly had costly divorces and not-so-successful second marriages.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Kind of an odd story, I thought. I prefer stories that are not that amorphous. Give me a real ending, a solution. I guess that's why I like mysteries.

On the road and home this week, I finished the Elizabeth Strout collection, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and the collection of '50s noir by Gil Brewer, DEATH COMES LAST: The Rest of the 1950s.

I've got a new Crippen & Landru volume that arrived while we were away, THE SECRET OF THE POINTED TOWER by Pierre Very (1900-1960), a French writer I'd never heard of before. And I havae several collections on hold at the library - books by people George reviewed recently, Charles Ardai and Peter Tremayne, as well as George Pelecanos. We'll see.

Jerry House said...

I blow hot and cold on ambiguity in stories. Depending on my mood, I either lover or hate them and can never explain why.

TracyK said...

I read the story and the author's discussion of it. I enjoyed the story, I liked the writing, but I wanted some kind of resolution about the appearance of the unidentified man and what it meant to him. I also did wonder about the relationship, so I guess I like more closure. I will read more of his short stories someday. They are coming out in a book but I am not going to get it immediately so it would be a while.

I like that New Yorker cover.

pattinase (abbott) said...

He had a story in the New Yorker, a year before. I am wondering if that had a similar ending. I also found it unsatisfying after much thought.