Karen Russell (Miami, 1981) is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker. She is one of the true stars of the American short story world. (I have read and posted on five of her short stories before today and there background information on her in those posts.) I was very glad to find two of her short stories in the Archives of The New Yorker.
My main purposes in this post are to let other fans of her work know they can read this story online and to keep a record of my reading.
As the story opens a young couple are in a desert in The Joshua Tree National Park in California. The trees can live to well over 1000 years and were believed by many in the past to have the ability to bond with a human.
The couple are in love and are kind of on an escapist road trip. The woman steps on a thorn from the Joshua Tree and the tree somehow bonds with her, begins to cohabit her body. Of course she may be experiencing psychosis of some sort. They run out of money and rent a shack in the desert. The man gets a job. More and more the Joshua tree feels in revolt to its host.
I love this description of what happens:
"When the Leap occurs, Angie does not register any change whatsoever. She has no idea what has just added its store of life to hers.