If, in an oddly wry moment, you took a large, white, fundamentalist, musical Christian family, a troubled black foster teenager, a worldview so strict it would give a SWAT team pause, mixed those all together with the endearing and unsettling vagaries of adolescence, and threw in a vague hint of mental illness, would you have a story well worth reading?
Why, yes. Yes, you would.
She stared back at him, not smiling, with the covers drawn up to her chin, and watched as he danced out of her room, doing a perfect curving moonwalk right out the door, which he left open. She stared at the open door for a while, considering it evidence that he had been there, since she made a point of closing it every night before she got into bed, and trying to think of what she should say to herself about what she had just seen. She didn’t know what to say, so she waited, instead, for the snarky, dissatisfied voice in her to say something, fully expecting it to be something more cruel and more vile than anything it had yet dared to say. But the words, when they came, were Nice moves.
Chris Adrian is author of two novels — Gob’s Grief and The Children’s Hospital — and a collection, A Better Angel. His third novel, The Great Night, is due out in May 2011. He is currently serving as a Clinical Fellow in pediatrics and hematology/oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.
UPDATE (Nov 2010): 20 Under 40: Stories from The New Yorker brings together the stories published during Summer 2010 to introduce “twenty young writers who capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction.”