"Experience" by Tessa Hadley

I read The New Yorker for the short stories. "Experience" by Tessa Hadley was published in the January 21, 2013 issue.

"Experience" is undramatic. No one dies or is raped. There are no disturbing revelations (Hana is not a pornstar). There is not even some life lesson shrewdly taught.

It is a story about one of those things, one of those experiences, that shapes one's idea of oneself. Let's get more contrived: it's a tiny shard of the substance identity is made from.

You have to be very skilled to leave behind all plot devices and write engagingly about something unexceptional. In my uneducated opinion Hadley is brilliant.

Edit (5 minutes after posting): Ok, I take back what I said about life lessons. There is one and this is it: we are enamored with defining moments that abruptly change us, but most of us don't have them and even if we do, who we are is mostly made up of an endless string of insignificant experiences.

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