Shapiro applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, In the Red, and reported the following:
Page 69 of In the Red:Visit Elena Mauli Shapiro's website.Amy unbundles some hundreds and places them in the little top tray. She pushes a button; there is a leafy whir. They watch the machine pass the bundle and display the expected “100.”What is on this page:
“So,” Amy asks, “have you ever been in love?”
Irina looks her coworker in the face, unsure of what is happening.
“Have you ever been in love?” she repeats.
Is Amy joking? Of all the words to say in a goddamn vault, “love” must be one of the most misplaced. Irina sees nothing but earnestness in Amy’s face, which is in itself a trifle unusual. So she answers, simply, “Yes.”
Irina sighs. She thinks she’s given enough of an answer, but Amy isn’t moving, isn’t taking the cash back out of the counter to rebundle it. She plainly expects more clarification, and asks for it. “How was it?”
“It was a fucking disaster,” Irina says.
Amy considers this answer and then shrugs. “Sounds about right,” she says as she reaches for more of the money.
Irina does not yet know that this is normal. Being hermetically sealed in the vault alone with another person can do that.Maybe it’s the confinement, all the sounds of the outside world totally blocked off by the layers of metal and concrete. Something about the vault will make a banker tell another banker about the abortion she’s never spoken of with anyone before; it will make a banker ask another banker—a near stranger—what fears keep him up at night.
• Falling in love is a fucking disaster.
• Confinement and money do strange things to people’s minds.
I think this is actually a pretty good capsule of the book as a whole! The page 69 test totally works.