In our January web exclusive story “The Key Bearer’s Parents,” a pair of loving parents (clowns, by trade) explain how they raised their son in order to try and make sense of his very troubling decision—a decision whose implications seem to depend entirely on the reader’s point of view. It’s a story that prompts an endless number of questions, so we were thrilled to have the chance to ask them of author Siân Griffiths.
This is New Hampshire in winter, past midnight. The roads are clear, the houses dark, the sky a suffering orange-gray, fat with frost and the forecasted blizzard. In the distance, like the North Star, John Stapleton, Jr. can see the truck-stop sign hovering above I-95, Bob’s Big Boy spinning just above the tree line, offering up his empty tray.
Stapleton’s sister Esther is driving. She tucks a greasy lock of hair behind her ear and pounds a fist on the dashboard, trying to resuscitate the speakers, which have worked sporadically for years but seem to have sputtered out completely today, along with their banter. Still, he trusts her enough not to ask where they’re going. […]
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 […]