Sunday, June 22, 2008


Christina Meldrum received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science from the University of Michigan. After working in grassroots development in Africa, she earned her law degree from Harvard Law School. She has worked for the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, and as a litigator at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling.

She applied the Page 69 Test to Madapple, her first novel, and reported the following:
“You’re the monsters,” I want to say. “You’re the freaks.” But even I don’t believe this.

This is a quote from page 69 of my novel, Madapple, which was released in May by Alfred A. Knopf. A crossover book intended for older teens and adults, Madapple is part literary mystery, part psychological thriller, part puzzle. Told alternately in terse trial transcripts and in the more atmospheric voice of sixteen-year old Aslaug, who is on trial for murder, Madapple seeks to draw the reader into a world where little is as it seems.

My hope for Madapple is that readers themselves will begin to question what is real: Who exactly are the monsters in the story? Who are the freaks? Is Aslaug herself a monster? At times it seems she may be. Her story is a fantastic one, difficult to believe. Her version of reality may well challenge the reader’s own expectations about what is possible. Divine intervention? Virgin births? Still, the facts at times seem to support Aslaug’s unlikely story.

Hence, the reader of Madapple becomes the jury, in a sense: the arbiter of what is possible and impossible, normal and abnormal; the arbiter of who is the monster, who is the freak. Hopefully, when the reader turns the last page—when he or she knows whether Aslaug is innocent or guilty—the impossible and possible will have melded some in the reader’s mind. Because, as Aslaug says, “[W]e are all mad apples.”
Read an excerpt from Madapple, and learn more about the book and author at Christina Meldrum's website.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue