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Feature Mon Jul 26 2010

Answers and Questions: Gina Frangello

Answers and Questions is a biweekly column that asks Chicago writers to remember the funniest or strangest things they've been asked in a question-and-answer session, during a talk, or in an interview.

The cover of Gina Frangello's most recent book, Slut Lullabies, definitely flashes some nip, so you might think she wouldn't be embarrassed by much. But at a reading in the '90s, after she read a story called "Scar" about a young woman who cut herself, she was shocked into near-silence by a fan's question:

A girl in the audience raised her hand and asked me if I was a cutter. There were about 100 people in the audience -- including my mother! -- so even if I had been reading nonfiction instead of fiction, this would not have been a great forum for a question of that nature.

I think I just said, "Uh, it's fiction," and moved on.

It was, though, a great intro to how weird readings can sometimes be. From then on I was always prepared for anything.

But Gina does admit in an interview with the Nervous Breakdown (for which she edits the fiction section) that Slut Lullabies is "much more autobiographical" than her previous book, 2006 novel My Sister's Continent: "[T]here were several people I had to pretty much sit down and have a talk with about particular stories in my book that were, let's say inspired by them."

Now, that knowledge could spark some fun questions for future "Answers and Questions" columns. Just sayin'.

 
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