Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Page 69: Kinda Sorta American Dream

Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....

In this installment of Page 69, 
we put Steve Karas' Kinda Sorta American Dream to the test.

OK, Steve, set up page 69 for us.

Page 69 finds us within the longest story in the collection, “It Takes a Village,” about a young social worker at a floundering Florida high school. During this particular scene, the protagonist, Andrew Richards, is meeting one of his counselees for the first time, a notably challenging kid. I liked this story enough that it inspired the novel I’m working on now, so I guess it’s apropos that it extends across page 69.

What is Kinda Sorta American Dream about?

Kinda Sorta American Dream is a collection of fourteen stories that explores the current American landscape and the condition of the American Dream. 

Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what Kinda Sorta American Dream is about? Does it align itself the collection’s overall theme?

Thematically, I think the page does give a pretty accurate sense of what the book is about. The American Dream has historically meant that each generation will be better off than the last, so it’s fitting that in this excerpt Andrew is reaching out to a really troubled kid from a well-to-do family. A kid whose trajectory is clearly pointing downward. In terms of the tone, while some of the stories in the collection are more serious, several take a lighter, cynical look at things like social media, the future of marriage and relationships, and the American school system, as is the case with this story. I think that cynicism comes out a bit in the excerpt. 

So while the Page 69 Test may be more applicable to novels, my guess is if you like it, you’ll probably—hopefully—dig the rest of the book. 



Steve Karas lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids. He is the author of Kinda Sorta American Dream (Tailwinds Press, 2015). His stories have also appeared in the short-fiction anthologies Friend.Follow.Text. #storiesFromLivingOnline (Enfield & Wizenty, 2013) and Bully (KY Story, 2015), as well as literary journals like Necessary Fiction, jmww, Hobart, WhiskeyPaper, and Little Fiction. He can be found online at steve-karas.com.

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