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 Christopher Linforth's Directory to the test
Set up Page 69 for us. What are we about to read?
Directory is a short book and so page 69 comes very close to the end. In the run-up to this page, the book has been narrated by an anonymous, multiplicitous voice, ostenabilty the mind of alternating twins and triplets. However, at this point, the book departs from that theory and offers up the idea that the "we" has all along been a conflicted, psychically damaged "I."
What is the book about?
Directory is a collection of flash, both experimental and interlinked. Again, on the surface, the book centers on we-narrators traversing the United States, trying to work out who they are and what they're about. Along the way there are several detours of place and form and voice. It's a cerebral, hopefully entertaining and arty book, as well as a celebration of form, voice, identity, and so on.
Does this page give readers an accurate sense of what the collection is about? Does it align itself with the collection’s theme?
Yes. In some ways page 69 can be seen as the climax, as the breaking down of the we-facade, as the point where the "I" realizes it cannot carry on in the same vein. That's one reading, and I'm sure, readers will have others.
Christopher Linforth is the author of three story collections, The Distortions (Orison Books, 2021), winner of the 2020 Orison Books Fiction Prize, Directory (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2020), and When You Find Us We Will Be Gone (Lamar University Press, 2014).