Late Night Library

Rookie Report: Rachel Cantor

Leonard’s usual complaint volume was twelve calls per hour, his average dispatch time two-point-five minutes, but for three nights running, Leonard had received no complaints whatsoever. No cranks, no callers saying they’d ordered super not supernal, not even a wrong number.

Leonard wasn’t worried, not at first—satellites blew up all the time, Neetsa Pizza always worked it out.

But by night two, Leonard would have welcomed even a crank. He was not always optimally compassionate with cranks, though on this matter, Neetsa Pizza was clear: all callers deserve the best, which is to say, a pizza shaped according to Pythagorean principles.

The situation is dire, he told his sister, Carol, after the third night with no calls. He’d changed out of his white caftan and trousers into rainbow lounging shorts; she was getting ready for her day shift at Jack-o-Bites, where she served Scottish tapas in reprehensible tartan steep pants.

Carol was unsympathetic: You sedate the postindustrial masses with your pre-Socratic gobbledygook, she said, running a pick through her red afro. Pythagorean pizza is the opiate of the middle classes!

Is not! Leonard said.

Is too! she replied. Pass me my tam.

-Excerpt from A Highly Unlikely Scenario


A Highly Unlikely Scenario 300dpiLate Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.

Rachel Cantor: Schlemiel saves the world, gets the rare-book librarian.

LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?

RC: Italo Calvino is definitely the father, and Isaac Bashevis Singer is probably its other father. We can say that now, right?

LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?

RC: Oh, I wish I had a recipe! Or understood my style, even. In this book I think I was going for equal parts sweet, funny, fascinating, and sly.

LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.

RC: Maybe Jane Eyre. I read it first at the age of ten. I’ve reread it numerous times and of course always gotten something more/different from it, but that first reading! How I felt for poor Jane—and Helen! How I hated the Reeds, and Mr. Brocklehurst! How I, yes, longed for Mr. Rochester! I wish I could read that book again and re-experience that very pure emotion.

LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.

RC: Q: Where can we buy your book? A: Your favorite indie bookseller. Preferably in person so you can hug them, too.

Get a copy of A Highly Unlikely Scenario from IndieBound
(Credit: Marianne Barcellona)Rachel Cantor‘s short stories have appeared in the Paris Review, One Story, Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, New England Review, Fence, and elsewhere. They have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times, and have been short-listed by both Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Awards. Rachel has received fellowships from the Yaddo Corporation, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and elsewhere, and has been a scholar at the Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and Wesleyan Writing Conferences.

Posted on: January 31, 2014 · Blog, Homepage, Rookie Report ·Tags: , , , .

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