In November’s web exclusive, “America,” a white teenager in Ohio finds herself awakening in the body of the Puerto Rican “Marisol” from A West Side Story. The story is beguiling at first because of its voice and given the comic richness inherent in the world of high school theater. But then layer upon layer quickly opens up, revealing truths about identity via the innocence and volatility of adolescence. We chatted briefly with author Erin McGraw about appropriation, empathy, and identity in fiction […]
Mr. Bixby is showing us again how to do the lay-back. He says we’re all too stiff, but what he means is that we’re all too white. “Curl your upper backs! With every kick you’re giving yourselves.” He kicks as high as his shoulder and lets his upper back droop and he looks idiotic, but he’s trying to get Melissa Ridge to quit it with her ramrod ballet kicks, and anyway, Mr. Bixby is Mr. West Side Story, and all we can do is go along. […]
You are sitting in the bedroom of a house that is inches away from the freeway. Cars whiz past at an alarming rate, and it seems to you that a minor slip of the steering wheel will send a car crashing into the bedroom, killing the occupants of the house. You are there on a date with the man who lives there, a man named Oswald. He complains that the highway was built too close to his house, taking away his front yard—you see the tiny blades of grass that are left of it, so few you can count them, but he does admit that he has an exciting view from his bed. […]
In October’s fiction web exclusive, “Choose Your Own,” author Jeanne Jones explores a familiarly adult dilemma in a familiar childhood format. She takes you (well, you take yourself) on a labyrinthine journey that’s designed to reflect just how existential this whole finding-love thing can be. We talked with Jeanne about interaction; what Julie Otsuka, George […]
In September’s web exclusive story, “Lockwood,” a young boy gets a new neighbor, with whom he shares a brief friendship. The story’s brilliance is in how clearly it manifests in the mind, as if happened to you. And in many ways, it has—each of us has experienced a similar convergence of moment, setting, and person […]
Roberto was brown and his people lived beside us, so of course I went over on weekends. They were full Mexican. That made us superior. My father found every opportunity to say it. Not to their faces, he’d just whistle through the window, but Ma took it upon herself to visit most evenings. She still didn’t have many friends on the block—we were too dark for the blancos, too strange for the blacks.
But Roberto’s mother dug the company. She invited us in. Her husband worked construction, pouring cement into Grand Parkway. She didn’t have papers. No one was hiring. So what she did with her days was look after Roberto. […]