Issue #122: Children are the Only Ones Who Blush

meno_cover I’ve been a fan of Joe Meno’s ever since I read his collection, Demons in the Spring, which was one of the finalists for last year’s Story Prize. I was intrigued by the design of the book, which incorporated artwork into each of the stories, but what impressed me even more was the unique style of Joe Meno’s prose. Each piece contained a flight of fancy, but was grounded in emotion and wickedly sharp dialogue. One Story issue #122, “Children are the Only Ones Who Blush”, has this in spades. When I first read this story on the subway (where I seem to do all my reading these days), I found myself smiling at Dr. Dank giving therapy to the twins in those matching dentist chairs, then laughing out loud when Jill Thirby arrived, dressed all in yellow. At the same time, underneath this humor, the story was always working on a deeper level, so that when Jack makes his false confession at the end, it reveals a greater darkness. You can find out more about how Joe wrote this story by reading his Q&A with us. And now that you’ve sampled his work, you should also check out his new novel, The Great Perhaps. The New York Times recently said, “Meno is thinking hard about why the world is the way it is and about where hope for change might reasonably lie.” For me it lies in the image of Jill Thirby, dressed like the sun, trying to float herself with a hundred balloons.

6 thoughts on “Issue #122: Children are the Only Ones Who Blush

  1. Funny stuff. Funny and at the same time sad, without wallowing in sentimentality. Uber-neurotic Jack is surrounded by lunacy, not the least of which emanates from his own family, who are working very hard to screw him out of an identity before he gets one. Jill, whipped and driven by the Muse of Extreme Quirk, can’t hide a greater darkness of her own.

    In the end, I wondered if Jill had finally found enough balloons in Jack…and just what pail of water Jack and Jill would find together.

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  3. .

    I was happy to read in his interview that “For me, almost everything starts off as a short story.”

    I’m usually satisfied with short stories as short stories, but I would like to walk a longer mile with these characters.

    Make it a novel!

  4. .

    Oh. And this:

    I’ve just had a new novel come out and so I’ve been busy with that. I’ve also been writing some new short stories and started playing around with what will hopefully be a new novel, which revisits characters from “Children Are the Only Ones Who Blush.”

  5. This story was fantastic and kept me interested. It wasn’t masked by descriptions of every little thing and surroundings. It definately gave me a feel of the late seventies, upper east side, eclectic era.

    Thank you for your work.

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