Rachel Cantor is the author of the novels Good on Paper (Melville House 2016) and A Highly Unlikely Scenario (Melville House 2014). Two dozen of her short stories have appeared in venues like The Paris Review, One Story, Ninth Letter, Fence, and Kenyon Review, and she has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is always at work on another book.
From Cantor's Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:
So much of your wonderful novel is about second chances—and how we read or misinterpret them. Can you talk about this, please?Visit Rachel Cantor's website.
Thank you for calling my novel wonderful and thanks for the thoughtful question! Yes, the book is to a large extent about second chances. My protagonist, Shira Greene, is stuck. She had big dreams when she was a girl, as a young woman she was a rising academic star, but now she’s a bored file clerk who bristles when her bosses tell her to smile. This isn’t what she’d intended for her life but she can’t imagine anything better. Like many characters in fiction, she needs a deus ex machina to bust in and change everything. And he does, in the form of an eccentric Italian poet—and thank heavens, or Shira would still be temping in New Jersey, unsure why she’s so unhappy. In the end, though, it’s not enough that someone pushes Shira to change—it’s the necessary but not sufficient condition for change, as the philosophers say. She’ll also need to make some choices herself, she’ll need to act. It’s not enough that she be given a second chance: she also needs to take chances. This is her “test,” in the language of the book. Her true second chance is...[read on]
See Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books.
The Page 69 Test: A Highly Unlikely Scenario.
The Page 69 Test: Good on Paper.