I knew I had to include a story by Lauren Groff in this personal anthology because her level of narrative control and respect for her characters as people has stood out to me as I have read stories that influenced my own. But also, at the level of history as it impacts individuals, and for the way it dissects how much patriarchal perspectives survive even in the most extreme circumstances – this is just a great read. Lauren Groff never forgets the reader in how she writes, in terms of creating genuinely suspenseful stories even as her attention to language could not be more diligent or (often) lovely. I strive to have both these elements in my fiction – page-turning as well as crafted at the sentence level – and I was thrilled when some of the reviews of my collection called it compulsively readable. That sense of momentum for the reader is everything.
First published in Glimmer Train 70, Spring 2009. Collected in Delicate Edible Birds, Hyperion/Windmill Books, 2009