Issue #107: How to Know Each Other

I first read Nell Casey’s “How to Know Each Other” in 2007 at the Sirenland Writers Conference. I was immediately struck by Maggie’s voice, and, when I came to the end, I was moved by the final moment of the story in a way that I had not expected. It is a transcendent scene. A moment of true magic. For anyone who has ever been a caretaker for someone you love, either in illness or advanced age, this story will strike close to home. It is an arena that Nell Casey knows well–she recently edited a wonderful anthology called An Uncertain Inheritance: Writers on Caring for Family. (Read her Q&A to learn more.) But none of this experience would have made a difference if Nell did not find a way to create characters that literally walk off the page. Mercy, Maggie, Eve and their father are drawn so convincingly in such a compact and thorough way, that I found myself thinking of them, long after I put the story down, and worrying what was going to happen in their lives. It has now been a year and half since I first read “How to Know Each Other,” and I still tear up when I reach that perfect, perfect line: “You have been a wonderful wife.”

2 thoughts on “Issue #107: How to Know Each Other

  1. Pingback: My One Word Review of the Dark Knight… « It’s a Mad House, a Mad House!!

  2. This was my first issue of “One Story” and I was delighted by Nell Casey’s story. I am using it this morning in a lesson on creating memorable characters–the first paragraph will be perfect to show my high school students ways to use sentence structure, detail, dialogue, and figurative language to quickly introduce a character.

    Thanks for introducing me to a terrific story.

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