Short story: “An Honest Woman”

by look i have opinions

“An Honest Woman,” by Ottessa Moshfegh

Appeared in the October 24th, 2016 issue of the New Yorker and was read by the author on The Writer’s Voice

6486 words

Jeb’s desire is typical of a certain type of man. Sex and romantic affection seem utterly out of his reach, but he keeps maneuvering, keeps playing his game, as though he hopes to annoy her enough that she notices him, or perhaps make her defensive enough that she’s almost afraid. Meanwhile, the “girl” plays a similar if less twisted game: she doesn’t stay at his house in order to make a human connection, she just wants to be right, to feel smart and contemptuous at his expense. The author says, “She’s just as wily as Jeb is, I think. She wants something from the exchange, too—revenge, empowerment.”

Edited to add: Some odd point of view shifts, slightly distracting. It’s meant to be omniscient, but it feels like we spend a lot of time inside Jeb’s head.