On the cunningly designed dust jacket of Cynthia Ozick’s new work of fiction, alongside small images of a beetle, a lotus, a stork, and a palm arranged within an oval frame, there are the words “A Story.” The book is indeed “a fictional narrative shorter than a novel specifically” (Merriam-Webster); it could also be described as a novella. It is, I would guess, just a bit shorter than Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, which it resembles in its designedly enigmatic quality.
Okay, okay, a kibitzer breaks in, but why are you telling us all this stuff? We’re not in …
This article appears as “Excavations” in the May 17, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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