The New Yorker: “The Heron” by Dorthe Nors

CV1_TNY_09_09_13McCall.inddSeptember 9, 2013: “The Heron” by Dorthe Nors

I can’t remember another story by a Danish author since I’ve been running this series on The New Yorker’s fiction, so it’s nice to see something new and different. And different it is. Not much of anything happens in the story, which is basically a character study of the narrator, and grumpy elderly man. He sees the ugly side of things, including the herons that inhabit the park he visits. (There’s a great blue heron who sometimes visits the creek that runs through my yard; it’s an amazing looking bird.) To him, the heron looks like death. Also, he has no patience for the young mothers who congregate (“flock”) in the park. And so on.  You can a little more sense of what the author is doing in the Q&A with Dorthe Nors.

Otherwise, there’s not much to say. It’s a skilled bit of writing; as “story,” though, it doesn’t do much for me. Still, I’d be interested in reading her collection when it comes out in the U.S. later this year.

About the author


  1. I agree – not much of a story. The author creates a slow sense of dread but never delivers. The narrator seems disgusted by most of what he(?) sees in the world. At the end he recognizes a need for a closer engagement with the imperfect grit and grime of his daily life but the moment barely resonates. There’s not much in the story to connect with beyond some vivid descriptions and a crisp pace.

  2. Comments seem to think the story is told from the perspective of a grumpy elderly man but I couldn’t find anything to show the narrator was either a man or elderly. The friend who died could have died young. The author is a young female. Can you please show me where it says it is a man and old?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.