David is a doctor, married to Suzie. She is his second wife, whom he married after Francesca, the first wife, killed herself. David has a moody teenage son, Jamie, and Suzie and David together have two kids, Hannah and Joel. One day Suzie has an accident, caused by a swan, and after that she seems to spiral out of control. David is frantic but never quite figures out what’s going on—and neither does the reader. He’s ready to confront her and bring some order back into his life and suddenly it’s over. Although the life of this family is clearly rendered—I can see them perfectly and I can imagine the stresses they live with—the resolution of the story makes no sense. Suzie’s got problems and at best they’ve just sunk beneath the surface temporarily. They will be back and frankly that’s the story I’d be interested in reading.
February 19 and 26, 2007: “The Swan” by Tessa Hadley