September 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.