SADIE HOAGLAND: John, I so enjoyed reading The Fear of Everything. Each story balances humor and darkness so well, and each piece held the sort of “good surprises” I love in fiction—the unexpected turns. I think one of my favorite moments in the book is in “The Blueprint of Your Brain,” when you are describing why/how Jimmy burned down his parents’ garage. Initially we learn of this event—the garage burning—from an external standpoint, and connect it with Jimmy’s boredom as a “latchkey” kid. But then we learn that Jimmy felt such intense shame at being mocked by his father while listening to old records that he was trying to burn the phonograph. This is so succinct and subtle in the story—but it’s gut-wrenching too. The father seems at fault, in the end, for the garage.
Read the full conversation here!