Street Talk

Braddock Avenue Books: Both the backdrop for the magical aspects of The Tide King as well as the properties of the herb burnette saxifrage, is Reszel, Poland. Is your use of this herb and the story you have woven around it based in Polish myth or legend?

Jen Michalski: A little of both. There is an actual herb, burnette saxifrage, and an actual witch, Barbara Zdunk, who was the last person executed for being a witch in Poland.

Braddock Avenue Books: Nanking Mansion, the lofts/condos that serve as the setting for What the Zhang Boys Know, has a name that bespeaks the dubious hope of gentrification.

Braddock Avenue Books: No doubt the title of your story collection, Beasts & Men, is intended to be metaphorical, but it’s also the case that the stories often juxtapose people and animals in a literal way

Robert Yune: One thing that struck me about Hidden America is its sense of fair play, especially when dealing with sensitive topics such as guns and unions and immigration. 

Catherine Gammon: Fat Girl, Terrestrial seems to be among many wondrous things a chronicle of evolutions, evolutions of a kind we’re used to in fiction, how a character grows from childhood to womanhood, for example, or how events and actions taken come together to shape

Braddock Avenue Books: You begin your story collection, Strategies Against Extinction, with an epilogue from Joyce Carol Oates that is a meditation on realism that says, “to be a realist (in art or life) is to acknowledge that all things might be other than what they are

Braddock Avenue Books: Many of the stories in Margins of Tolerance depict men testing their personal relationships or investigating their identities as gay men against the backdrop of foreign travel—Peru, Brazil, South Africa.

Braddock Avenue Books: A Nearly Perfect Copy tackles questions of authenticity: the authenticity of art, the authenticity of being human. The latter question is guided by the protagonist’s interest in cloning her deceased son.


Only blood will teach certain people.”—Scott McClanahan

We live in an era, more and more, of compartmentalization.