That Robert is smart and witty is true, but does the fact that someone’s smart and witty mean that he won’t murder you (as Margot wonders more than once), or assault you, or say something nasty to you if you reject him?
Of course it doesn’t, and the vertigo that Margot feels at several points in the story is the recognition of that uncertainty: it’s not that she knows that Robert is The first draft of the story came fairly easily—I wrote it in a feverish burst—but I did feel self-conscious, afterward, about the verisimilitude of the texts, especially because Margot is younger than I am and there’s nothing more embarrassing than someone older trying to mimic the communication style of a slightly different generation.
The subject of nonconsensual sex—between older men and younger women, in particular—has been very much in the news lately.
Do you think of this encounter, which is, at times, cringe-inducing for the reader, as a consensual one? Well, he buys her alcohol, even though he knows she’s underage, and he tells her that he thinks she’s drunk right before he takes her home. But I’m more interested in the way that Margot herself weighs the costs of her own decision to consent.
Bulk collections for green waste are held twice a year and bulk white goods collections occur once a year.
When I started writing the story, I had the idea of a person who had adopted all these familiar signifiers as a kind of camouflage, but was something else—or nothing at all—underneath.The point at which she receives unequivocal evidence about the kind of person he is is the point at which the story ends.I think it’s genuine enough as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far.There are fewer of her texts in the story for that reason.I liked writing Robert’s side of the conversation, on the other hand, in part because I felt like I was his analogue as a writer: both of us were trying to imitate how someone younger would talk, always on the verge of a slip that would give the game away.