Jen Knox grew up in Columbus, Ohio. She works as a creative writing professor and associate editor in San Antonio, Texas. Jen’s writing was chosen for Wigleaf’s Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions in 2012, and she was a recipient of the Global Short Story Award for a different portion of We Arrive Uninvited. Some of her current, short work can be found in A cappella Zoo, ARDOR, Bound Off, Bluestem, Burrow Press Review, Gargoyle, Istanbul Review, JMWW, Narrative, [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Short Story America, and The Bombay Literary Magazine. She has published two books, including the Next Generation Indie Book Award winner in Short Fiction, To Begin Again (All Things That Matter Press, 2011). Her new collection, Don’t Tease the Elephants, is forthcoming from Monkey Puzzle Press.
Jen, this section from We Arrive Uninvited is very compelling and leaves the reader wondering what happens next. While everyone in town considers Amelia “a blessing,” Kay considers her a curse, a reminder of her own bad choices and the cruel fate that befell her. Amelia senses her mother’s contempt for her, but never understands why. Does she seek the answer as the novel unwinds?
Amelia is driven to understand Kay and gain her acceptance, but this desire will prove problematic. Kay seems to transfer all her anger and regret to the part of herself she sees reflected in her child. Throughout much of the novel, Kay is depicted as a sort of villain. But life is never that clear cut, and neither is this story. Perspective shifts with awareness. When Amelia comes to understand her mother—learning everything the reader knows to this point and more—her desire to gain acceptance fades, and the way she views reality somersaults.