Shubha Sunder speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “A Very Full Day,” which appears in The Common’s fall issue. In this conversation, Shubha talks about writing stories set in India, and how she built out the insular world of Indian retirees that “A Very Full Day” centers on. She also discusses teaching creative writing to undergrads, her revision process, and her forthcoming collection of stories Boomtown Girl, which won the St. Lawrence Book Award.
The following is an excerpt from Here Lies by Oliva Clare Friedman, out now from Grove Press. Click here to purchase.
From before I began, I loved her. This was what I knew. Before the beginning, before I was born from her, before bones and blood and body, before egg.
My mother Naomi was dead and not buried. Dead in fact for half a year. Her body burned to ashes by the state, bones, heart, feet, eyes burned to dust, against her wish, against mine, and that was that. I was trying to understand.
When Catherine woke and turned the light on, she was shaking, her whole body was cold. This, she thought, is aftershock. She had been fine all afternoon: a little sleepy, but fine. Now she was trembling. Her feet were freezing.
She put on a cardigan, found warm socks and turned the central heating on. It was still dark and too early to let the dogs out. She made coffee, stronger than usual, and sat at the kitchen table without putting on the main light. She liked this time of day. If the tide was coming in, the air was salty and fresh, and you could watch daylight starting out on the water past the rocks.