First Lines of 13 New Yorker Stories Killed in the Pandemic

  1. “Nobody’s interested in big cats,” Kitty said, as she locked the gates on the Kat Korral for the last time.
  2. There wasn’t any toilet paper in any of the Airbnb’s three bathrooms and John-Paul decided, “There must be a local shortage,” like that was even a thing.
  3. With the girls both at sleepaway camp for seven long weeks, I was desperate for distraction, so I signed up for curling lessons. 
  4. Max always found the city insufferable in the summer, but this year was going to be different. 
  5. The crowd thronged.
  6. It was August, and everyone but David was in Maine. 
  7. Surely, the Vandenburg’s Iceland cruise looked better in the photos than it actually had been. 
  8. Fact: When Anne raised a glass and said, “Rosé all day,” everybody packed into the North Fork tasting room she’d rented out for her 50th knew she meant it. 
  9. Eric’s subway commute had become the highlight of each work day now that he was using the time to take notes on his novel, tentatively entitled Strong Female Lead
  10. The grandfather clock rang out joyously once the house emptied—William out with the nanny, Emma at school, and Joshua off to the office—and Kathryn drew herself a bath. 
  11. “An inflatable pool?”
  12. The twins had been asking for a puppy relentlessly for years, but there was no way Beatrice would ever let herself be spotted on the sidewalk outside Le Pain Quotidien picking up dog shit like that sad, disheveled woman on the other side of the glass.  
  13. Louise had always had a particular distaste for sourdough. ❏

Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous young adult novels, including The Leaving and Take Me With You. She also created the Pinna podcast Dream Breachers. 

“Love Life” New Yorker cover by Adrian Tomine


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