We live in Connecticut, nicknamed “the land of steady habits.” Depending on your outlook on life this is either a compliment or a criticism. Over the years many residents have moved out of the state. In early days it was to seek new horizons in hope of a better life. Today it is to seek new horizons in hope of a better life. Years ago it meant moving West seeking more space. Today it means moving South with the promise of better weather and lower taxes. Some of us stay put.
Zorrie, a short novel by Laird Hunt, published in 2021, settles us down with a woman who pretty much stayed put. She lived in Indiana, but it really could have been in many overlooked places around the country.In Death of A Salesman, Arthur Miller’s 1949 play, Linda, Willie Loman’s wife, says “attention must be paid” to a man like her husband, working in obscurity, never leaving a huge mark on the world. Hunt seems to take the same approach with Zorrie, though in a less melancholy way. She is born, orphaned, married, widowed, employed, unemployed, a farmer, a neighbor, and a friend. Her obituary won’t be found in the New York Times or in the compilation of lives we have lost each year.
But what does it mean to live a “good life?” What does it mean to stay put? I found that after I finished my time with the main character Zorrie, I pondered these questions once again. The book won’t keep you up at night with its tension, but it may give you pause to reflect on who really matters in the world.