Article Club
Article Club
#435: “There’s this splitting of the self.”

#435: “There’s this splitting of the self.”

An interview with Jonathan Escoffery, author of “In Flux”

Welcome, new subscribers, and welcome back, loyal readers! I’m happy you’re here.

Today’s issue is dedicated to an interview with Jonathan Escoffery, the author of “In Flux,” March’s article of the month.

First published in Passages North, “In Flux” is a short story about race, identity, and the dreaded question, “What are you?” It’s about Blackness, belonging, and the main character Trelawny’s struggle to figure out where he fits in.

Mr. Escoffery writes:

I was interested in what complications an American-born boy of Jamaican parentage, and of African and European descent, presenting, to some degree, as racially ambiguous, might find in claiming a neat, pre-packaged identity, and how the competing attitudes—the contradictory denials and affirmations—held by those within his various communities might further complicate this, and how shifting geographic and class locations would complicate this even further.

🎙️ I warmly invite you to join our discussion of “In Flux” on Sunday, March 24, 2:00 - 3:30 pm PT. We’ll meet on Zoom. It’d be wonderful to have you there.

Join our discussion

Alongside fellow Article Clubber Sarai Bordeaux, I got a chance to interview Mr. Escoffery last week. It was an honor. We discussed a number of topics, including:

  • the shame the main character feels as a result of having his identity questioned

  • the use of the second person point of view and its impact on the reader

  • the messiness of identity and our society’s disdain for nuance and complexity

Most of all, I appreciated Mr. Escoffery’s thoughtfulness and introspection. It was clear that he does not settle for simple answers, especially when it comes to issues of race. Listening to Mr. Escoffery got me to want to re-read his piece. It encouraged me to share his piece with my colleagues at school. (Our students would appreciate it, I’m certain.) And it made me excited to discuss his piece with you.

Jonathan Escoffery; illustration by Vivienne Flesher for New York Review of Books

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Article Club
Article Club
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