“One Saturday Morning”

Tessa Hadley Story Image
Courtesy of The New Yorker. Photograph by Josh Mckinley 

“Carrie was alone in the house. It was a Saturday in the mid-nineteen-sixties, and her parents were out shopping: she was ten years old, and doing her piano practice. She had borrowed her parents’ alarm clock and put it on top of the piano to time herself—she had so many twenty-minute practices to make up, it seemed as though she’d have to sit there forever. While she was playing, she often looked up at the clock, willing the time to pass; sometimes she just stared at it stonily, letting her fingers wander at random around the notes.”

I only recently discovered Tessa Hadley and I can’t decide if I’m overjoyed at the prospect of a new writer whose work I can really get into, or if I’m upset that I hadn’t discovered her earlier. Whatever the case may be, she is an extremely gifted story teller on the page, and off it. You should listen to her read her work if you get the chance. I have linked her reading this story at the end of the post.

I like Tessa Hadley because even though her stories have been published in magazines like The New Yorker and Granta, and so would be considered “literary,” it still has all the drama and high emotion of popular fiction. Hadley also writes adolescence extremely well. “One Saturday Morning” especially speaks to me, because of the protagonist’s relationship to her family. She sees herself as negligible compared to her parents and she gains her confidence from them. You can just feel her anxiety, and you instinctively understand that it comes from a place of youth and inexperience. She still doesn’t fully have a grasp of who she is, and we encounter her on a day (starting in the morning, ending at night) where she inches closer to this understanding. We experience her coming of age. I don’t think my description is really doing it justice,  but please read this story. It shouldn’t take up to an hour.

You can find the story here

And hear Tessa Hadley read it. It sounds darling.

Post Submitted by Kanyin

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