Tuesday, November 10, 2020

"Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything"

Kristin Bair is the author of the novel Agatha Arch Is Afraid of Everything. Under the name Kristin Bair O’Keeffe, she has published two novels, The Art of Floating and Thirsty, as well as numerous essays about China, bears, adoption, off-the-plot expats, and more. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Baltimore Review, The Manifest-Station, Flying: Journal of Writing and Environment, The Christian Science Monitor, Poets & Writers Magazine, Writer’s Digest, and other publications.

Bair applied the Page 69 Test to Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything and reported the following:
In Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything, an already-fearful author-mom discovers her husband in flagrante delicto with their town’s most beloved dog walker. Heartbroken and vengeful, Agatha invests in a pair of spy pants with dozens of pockets so she can easily carry all the things she needs to spy on her soon-to-be ex and his new chickie-babe.
She stashes a small bag of the boys’ favorite candy in the calf pocket of the right leg so that if they happen to catch her in a suspicious activity, she can sweeten them up. Anything for Sour Patch Kids. In various other pockets, she stashes a headlamp, gum, rubber bands, a nail file, a mini-roll of duct tape, waterproof matches, a whistle, firecrackers, a ball of twine, and a few other bits and pieces. She Googles what Bear [Grylls] takes on his adventures, then adds a survival blanket, a sewing kit, and a snare wire to her stash. You never know.

While the kitchen cleaver would fit just fine into the long-knife pocket, she opts for a Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD with a fold-down blade not more than an inch long. Better to avoid temptation, no matter what Shrinky-Dink believes.
Page 69 absolutely gets to the heart of Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything. The list of things Agatha stores in her spy pants reveals her devotion to her kids, her rather unique response to a terrible situation, her sense of humor, her obsession with Bear Grylls, the depth of her relationship with her therapist, and, most importantly, the dangerous edge on which she is perched. But while she’s heartbroken, afraid, angry, and tempted to do lasting damage to her soon-to-be ex-husband, it’s significant that she chooses the Leatherman Super Tool 300 EOD, and not the kitchen cleaver, for the long-knife pocket.

Agatha is not your average anything, but she’s authentic. I like exploring characters who seem to be outside the box, but who actually reflect, in some way, each and every one of us. While it would be easy to assume this is a story about a woman wronged by her husband, it goes much deeper than that. It’s really a story about how a woman consumed by fear for an entire life is given a chance to face those fears and grow.
Visit Kristin Bair's website.

My Book, The Movie: Agatha Arch is Afraid of Everything.

Q&A with Kristin Bair.

--Marshal Zeringue