“Different People”
by Clare Sestanovich
from the January 30, 2023 issue of The New Yorker

I first read something by Clare Sestanovich when she was first published in The New Yorker in December 2019. I’ve become a fan, and I’m excited to see her appearing relatively regularly: “Different People” is her fourth story to show up.

Here is how it starts:

When Gilly was young, she lied to her diary. It was not a toy diary. She had dutifully filled several of those already, notebooks in girlish colors, with ostentatious locks and miniature keys. This new diary had a dull-brown cover and no means of protecting itself. It was an object she could imagine becoming an artifact. She wrote in smooth black ink that glittered mysteriously until it dried, and she chose her words carefully, the longer the better. There were some words—squeezed to fit in the narrow space between lines, much narrower than she was used to—that she wasn’t sure how to pronounce. She wrote for an audience. She was twelve years old.

On Twitter Sestanovich said, “’Different People’ is about a diary, a parakeet, and the terrifying power of every child and every writer’s favorite pastime: making stuff up!” I’m in!

Please join in the conversation, and let us know what you thought of the story or of Sestanovich’s work in general.

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