by Katy Bowman
We recently interviewed Rick DeMarinis, whose story “Afternoon in Byzantium” ran in The Antioch Review, 2014 summer all-fiction issue and garnered the Review recognition as a finalist in the fiction category of the 2015 National Magazine Awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors.
The story is about the death of Winston Harp, a retired car salesman who has been falling into dementia. Through several perspectives—that of Winston himself; his wife; his wife’s boyfriend, who also happens to be his former business partner; and the policeman who responds to the scene of his death—we learn not only about the story behind his death, but how that story is shaped and appropriated by those around him.
AR: “Afternoon in Byzantium” is about a lot more than the death of an unambitious car salesman. It is about—among other things—our complicity as humans in the things that happen to us, whether intended or not. Can you talk about what you wanted to accomplish in this story?
RD: Stories, good stories, are always about more than they at first seem. The writer has an inkling about these unexpected things, an inkling that becomes clear when the first draft of the story is complete but usually not before. Here’s what I mean by that: the Continue reading