When I first read “Eraser”, what stood out was the voice. Ben Stroud perfectly captures the tone and cadence of a twelve year-old boy whose sharp, funny and wise comments give a quick study of his character. For such a short story (only 12 pages) a lot is covered, from his inability to connect with his father or stepfather and his own developing ideas of what it means to be a man to his conflicting desires to be seen and heard and at the same time disappear. I think that Ben was able to accomplish so much because of the strong narrative voice–bringing in an element like this often contributes to the success of shorter pieces. (You should read Ben’s Q&A to find out how Jim Shepard inspired this character’s voice.) But ultimately “Eraser” has a freshness to it. It feels effortless–which as we know means that there is a lot of work going on, sentence by sentence in each paragraph. Ben Stroud is only at the beginning of his career, but he is off to a magnificent start. I can’t wait to see what he is going to do next.