“God’s Caravan”
by Tiphanie Yanique
from the November 4, 2019 issue of The New Yorker

I have seen Tiphanie Yanique’s name (in 2010 the National Book Foundation named her in their list of “5 Under 35”), but I don’t know her work and had to look up what she’s done. It looks like she was known first for her poetry and then started publishing short fiction in the mid-2000s. Her debut collection of stories is How to Escape from a Leper Colony, which came out in 2010. Her debut novel, Land of Love and Drowning, came out a few years later in 2014. From what I can see, “God’s Caravan” is a new short story and not part of a forthcoming novel.

It’s always a great opportunity to get to know someone new, and I think this one looks very good. It starts by introducing us to a young boy named Earl Lovett. He’s about to be in the midst of a religious revival:

The boys were crouched in the dirt, the marbles pinging between them. Earl Lovett’s biggie oily marble was blue and white, like the earth seen from the heavens. He’d already won twenty marbles by the time he noticed the music. Back home in Ellenwood, there was always singing or music playing. All day, every day. The music was constant noise for Earl, something easy for him to relegate to the back of his mind. So his marbles smashed straight while the other boys’ jigged. Even Earl’s cousin, Brent, who had taught him to pitch that summer, couldn’t keep up with Earl’s streak. He’d gotten so good, he wondered if he could grow up to be a marble player. His father was always going on about finding a trade.

Please feel free to comment on the story below. And, of course, if you know more of Yanique’s work, please let us know how you liked it.

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