portion of the artwork for Ian Sanquist's fiction
Ian Sanquist’s Comments

These stories have their origins in the here and the there. In “Arlington Cemetery,” the authors I am making fun of are Paulo Coelho and Dan Brown. My aunt and uncle who live in San Francisco sent me a copy of Coelho’s novel The Alchemist when I graduated from high school. I spent a day reading it, and I thought that it was terrible and sentimental, full of platitudes and portents to platitudes. I gave it away to someone I knew, who thanked me for it a few months later, and told me that it had changed his life.

The central conceit in “Brazil” is taken from the dust jacket summary of a James Patterson novel that I looked at one day while I was waiting for a flight to Palm Springs. The novel was called, I believe, The Lake House, and concerned a group of children who were able to fly, due to, if I recall correctly, their DNA having been spliced with avian DNA. Furthermore, they were on the run from a group of scientists who wanted them for possibly nefarious purposes.

“Magazine Fiction” requires no elucidation, except for you to know that the symptoms the young man the narrator describes at the end is suffering from are caused by a type of leukemia.

In “Francesca,” the opening and closing lines are taken from two Roberto Bolaño poems, “La Francesca,” and “Lupe.” Both of these poems can be found in the collection The Romantic Dogs. The story itself was written about, or for, a girl I sat next to in math my freshman year of high school, who showed up for class most days drunk on vodka. I saw her again five or six years later, in a history class in community college. We shared a few cigarettes over the course of the quarter, before and after class, but I believe she is in Italy now, or Spain.

Finally, “A Kinder, Gentler World” is my attempt at a Nabokovian murder ballad, and requires no further elucidation.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 36 | Spring 2012