Issue #141: Nephilim

For our next issue, I’m turning the reins over to our contributing editor, Pei-Ling Lue, who saw issue #141: Nephilim, through our editing process, from start to finish. It’s a beautiful story, and we are so glad to have it in our pages.-HT

One Story got inundated with stories when we opened our submission manager in September. L. Annette Binder’s “Nephilim” was the first piece I plucked from the new batch and I read it three times in a row.

“Nephilim” is a story about a woman afflicted with gigantism and her friendship with a boy named Teddy.  I was drawn to the strong narrative voice and the beautiful language. Though the story moves through twenty years in 13 pages, the pacing was pitch-perfect. I found myself wondering why any story ever needed to be longer than 13 pages. No matter how many times I read this piece in edits, each time I got to the final scene, I found myself close to tears.

Last April, the One Story staff attended the AWP conference in Denver. I took a few extra days to visit Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, so when I arrived at the scene where Freda’s mother points out the mountains and explains that they’re the leftover bones from the Nephilim, I could see exactly what she was describing. This is a story that could have only been inspired by the mountains of Colorado. Read L. Annette Binder’s Q&A to learn more about this story. (And thanks to for the pic of the Colorado Mountains–a.k.a. The Bones of the Nephilim.) 

8 thoughts on “Issue #141: Nephilim

  1. My favorite line in this story is when Teddy says to Freda, “I’m looking for crickets(…) My lizard Freddy, he’s got a condition.” Freda then takes Teddy through her garden as if it is a natural request. The entire story and relationship between the characters, as unusual as it all is, feels like that line: natural.

  2. Thanks so much for the comments, I’m so happy you liked it! A friend read it recently in front of me and I couldn’t wait to ask him how he felt about it. As soon as he put the story down, he said, “I liked it a lot. But now I need to process it. And then I’ll need to read it again.”

  3. I just finished this story and loved it so much. I thought the relationship between Freda and Teddy was so on-point, sweet and heartbreaking. I also really enjoyed the story of the Nephilim woven throughout and how it paralleled Freda’s story. Great piece!

  4. I really love the pacing of this story– so slow and pitch-perfect. The relationship that grows between Teddy and Freda is complicated, but more real for the complications, and interweaving the main narrative with the nephilim stories has such an awesome, almost mythological effect. I think that I need to reread it now, to get the full effect!

  5. I love that you guys love the story. It’s one of my favorites. And almost everyone I talk to about it said that they needed to read it at least twice.

  6. Two characters one can only love and they rightly love each other. Bitter sweet. Reminds me when I learned the phrase “A mixed blessing” and for years wished for an unmixed blessing. Finally settled for mixed rather than no blessing at all.

  7. Pingback: Q&A with L. Annette Binder | Bloom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *