Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Stephen Beachy is the author of the novels The Whistling Song and Distortion, as well as the twinned novellas Some Phantom/No Time Flat. His writing has appeared in BOMB, The New York Times Magazine, Chicago Review, Best Gay American Fiction, New York magazine and elsewhere. Raised by an ex-Amish father in Iowa, he now lives in California and teaches at the University of San Francisco.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest novel, boneyard, and reported the following:
Page 69 of boneyard rather freakishly suggests, in a footnote, the novel's premise, which is that it was written by a young, disturbed Amish boy, distraught over his mother's suicide (by drowning) and the shootings in the Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines. Jake then decided his book was evil and threw it into the fire. At that point, I rescued it and lovingly reconstructed Jake's text. P. 69 includes both Jake's text and one of my own footnotes. Jake's text suggests his mother's suicide: “Her footprints clearly lead to the pond but never exit. The pond is red and cloudy. The farm-boys continue to swim there regardless, playing their rough games with the rubber inner-tube.” In my footnote, I explain Jake's conclusion “that his stories were magic and had somehow caused the murders. The distinction between mere prophecy and sympathetic magic is perhaps too nebulous for a guilt-racked child. While Jake claimed that he'd written the story years earlier, he didn't give me the stories until after the shootings at Nickel Mines. It seems equally possible that he wrote or heavily revised this scene after the murders and his confusion was actually in the distinction between writing and current events, between a psychotic break and the process of revision.”
Learn more about the book and author at Stephen Beachy's website; view the boneyard trailer.

My Book, The Movie: boneyard.

Writers Read: Stephen Beachy.

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

--Marshal Zeringue